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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Thursday 11 March 2004

SOMALIA: Peace process should move into phase three, say IGAD and partners

NAIROBI, 11 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - The members of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) facilitation committee for the Somali peace talks, and international observers have expressed support for the process of moving the talks into their third and final phase, according to a joint statement issued on their behalf.

The statement follows an earlier statement by a group of faction leaders, warning of a possible collapse of the talks if they moved into the third phase. "We feel that the formal launch of the Transitional Federal Charter of Somalia... is uncalled for as the contentious article 30 (1) of the charter still stands unresolved," the Somali leaders said in the their statement.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka, who is also the chairman of the IGAD ministerial facilitation committee for the Somali peace talks, last week announced that the Somali interim charter would be launched on 13 March by the IGAD Council of Ministers.

In their statement, the IGAD committee and the international observers noted that article 30, which deals with the selection of members of a Somali interim parliament had been clarified by Musyoka on 17 February and "should be seen as a means to assist with the implementation of the spirit of the Safari Park agreement" of 29 January.

On that date, the leaders of the various Somali groups signed what was described at the time as "a landmark breakthrough" agreement on a number of contentious issues that had earlier been plaguing the peace talks.

Musyoka's clarification stated that members would be selected "at the subclan levels by recognised political leaders comprising the Transitional National Government, the National Salvation Council, regional administrations, the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council, the G8 and civil society organisations, and be endorsed by genuine traditional leaders".

The representatives of the international community and the IGAD committee welcomed Musyoka's 5 March statement in which he said the third round of the peace talks in Kenya would officially open on 13 March. They also welcomed the recent UN Security Council statement condemning those who obstructed the peace process, and stressing that those persisting on the path of confrontation and conflict would be held accountable.

The statement noted the concerns of some leaders about the peace process, and assured "them and all other interested parties that, as always, our intention is to help Somalis to find a lasting solution to their country's problems". It added: "We stand ready to support dialogue among the leaders to consolidate progress made so far and to ensure smooth implementation of Phase III."

The statement also called on those Somali leaders who had abandoned the talks and gone to Somalia to return and "work for a speedy conclusion to the Somali National Reconciliation Conference".


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