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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

SOMALIA: Faction leader rejects "flawed" agreement

NAIROBI, 16 July 2003 (IRIN) - Mogadishu-based faction leader Muse Sudi Yalahow rejected a peace agreement signed earlier this month by delegates to the peace talks in Nairobi, saying it was "flawed".

"We are for peace but this agreement was signed by people who have no weight or influence on the ground," he told IRIN on Wednesday.

"Most of those who signed cannot make any difference to peace or war on the ground," he added. "What is needed is a peace deal agreed to by all those who can contribute to the peace process."

The 5 July accord was termed as "historic" by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which is mediating the talks.

The signatories included delegates from the Transitional National Government, the opposition Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council, some faction leaders of the G-8, and members of civil society. They agreed to establish a federal parliament which would appoint a new president, who in turn would appoint a prime minister.

On Tuesday, thousands of Yalahow supporters marched through the streets of Mogadishu to condemn the agreement, describing it as "a plot to divide Somalia", according to Awil Hashi, a Mogadishu resident.

Yalahow urged IGAD to "remain neutral and to work for an agreement that will work on the ground", rather than "pushing for an unworkable agreement".

He told IRIN he was prepared to return to the peace talks on condition that "there will be an honest and open debate about the issues". He warned against presenting any document to the talks' plenary session "before consensus is reached" in order to avoid a "free for all"

TNG President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan has also rejected the accord, describing it as an attempt to "dismember Somalia".

The IGAD-sponsored Somali talks have been continuing for the past eight months in an effort to establish an all-inclusive government. More than 300 delegates representing the TNG, Somali armed factions, political groups and civil society are attending.

Meanwhile, international observers at the peace talks - while welcoming the 5 July agreement - said that since the final document would be incorporated into the draft transitional charter, "certain issues of major political importance should be subject to further negotiations".

"The recognition of the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Somalia cannot be overlooked," they said in a statement, received by IRIN. "The international observers find the absence of this statement from the document agreed on 5 July as a significant oversight."

The observers also called for a key role for traditional elders in the selection of the parliamentarians "in order to secure the greatest legitimacy as well as public support to the final outcome".


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict



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