UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
SOMALIA: Peace talks set to resume on 6 May
NAIROBI, 26 Apr 2004 (IRIN) - The Somali reconciliation conference sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has now been scheduled to reconvene early next month, according to an IGAD source close to the talks.
In a press release issued on 23 April, Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka, who is the chairman of the IGAD ministerial facilitation committee, set out a "time-frame" for the third and final phase of the talks, to be launched on 6 May, when all IGAD ministers are expected to meet.
In his statement, Musyoka said all "genuine" traditional and political leaders who had left Kenya should be in Nairobi "by 30 April 2004 at the latest".
A number of leaders who walked out of the peace talks in Nairobi have been holding meetings since February in the town of Jowhar, 90 km north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The distribution of assigned seats by the various clans would start on 13 May and end 2O May, to be followed by the selection of members of parliament from 23 May to 5 June, Musyoka said.
The parliamentarians would be sworn in on 7 June, and would then proceed to elect "the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Assembly and his or her deputies... on 9 and 10 June," said the statement.
"The Speaker and his or her deputies shall oversee the election of the President of the Republic, which will take place between the 14th and 17th of June. The swearing-in ceremony will take place on 19 June, and the new government will be inaugurated here in Nairobi on 1 July 2004," it said.
Musyoka called on all stakeholders "to redouble their efforts and commitment to the smooth conduct and successful conclusion of the third and final phase of the peace process".
Idd Beddel Mohammed, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Somalia to the United Nations in New York, told IRIN on Monday: "The process is now moving in the right direction. It was slow, but should now be concluded within two months. [...]The Security Council adopted a resolution that will censure those who undermine the process."
He added: "The Council will follow up the process in four months. It has the mandate to impose sanctions on those who prove obstacles to the talks, including travel bans and freezing assets held outside Somalia. This time, the international community is determined to demonstrate its commitment."
The IGAD-sponsored talks began in October 2002 in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret, but were moved to Nairobi in February 2003. They have been dogged by wrangles over the interim charter, the number of participants and the selection of future parliamentarians, among other things.
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