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Somalia: UN envoy on second leg of seven-nation tour to promote peace

4 October 2006 The top United Nations envoy for Somalia today visited Eritrea on the second leg of his seven-nation mission to promote peace and reconciliation ahead of the next round of peace talks between the rival factions in the war-torn east African country.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonsény Fall, held talks with Ethiopian leaders yesterday and plans also to visit Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

“Among the most critical issues on Ambassador Fall’s agenda is the third round of the Khartoum peace talks scheduled for 30 October between the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) based in Baidoa and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) established in Mogadishu,” the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) said of the rival sides currently engaged in a dispute over authority.

In Asmara, the Eritrean capital, Mr. Fall raised with President Isaias Afewerki “a number of issues with a view to avoiding any further deterioration in the present Somalia situation,” UNPOS added.

The last round of talks between the rival sides took place at the beginning of last month. The impoverished drought-afflicted country has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning national government since President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

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