In West Germany, Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre has been meeting with government leaders in Bonn.
In West Germany, Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre has been meeting with government leaders in Bonn. He is on a European tour, designed to strengthen his country's ties with the West.
SYNOPSIS: West Germany and Somalia have enjoyed something of a special relationship since last October, when Somalia allowed West German commandos to free the hostages in a Lufthansa plane hijacked to Mogadishu. In his talks with Chancellor Helmet Schmidt, President Barre expressed his concern at Soviet and cuban influence in Africa and thanked the Germans for the 23-million Pounds (39-million Dollars) in aid which Somalia has recently received from Bonn.
The Somalia leader also met Minister of State in the Chancellery Hans-Juergen Wischnewski. Herr Wischnewski met the President at the time of the hijacking and played a key role in consultations before the plane was stormed. Both countries have denied that Somalia demanded economic commitments from West Germany before allowing the operation to take place. However, German capital and expertise are now involved in several development projects, including a major agricultural scheme.
President Walter Scheel told the visiting Somali leader of West Germany's concern over recent fighting in the Horn of Africa. Somalia wants to rebuild its army after the defeat it suffered in the Ogaden at the hands of Ethiopia, but West German policy is not to deliver arms to areas of tension. However, Herr Scheel repeated his country's offer of economic assistance. President Barre flew on to London on Tuesday (20 June) and was also expected to visit Rome and possibly Paris and Brussels.