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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
13 November 2006

SOMALIA: Govt rejects outcome of speaker's talks with Islamic courts

NAIROBI, 13 Nov 2006 (IRIN) - Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has rejected an agreement reached in the capital, Mogadishu, between the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and a delegation of members of parliament led by the speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, a senior official told IRIN on Monday.

"The speaker had no mandate to negotiate on behalf of the TFG," Abdirahman Dinari, the TFG spokesman, said. "He did not consult with the President or the Prime Minister and whatever the outcome the government is not bound by it."

Adan arrived in Mogadishu on 5 November leading a delegation of 25 MPs to hold talks with the UIC, which controls much of southern and central Somalia, including the capital. The aim of the talks was to break a deadlock in talks between the two and came days after the postponement of peace negotiations in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, "for further consultations".

The Khartoum talks, scheduled for 30 October, were aimed at reconciling the transitional government with the Islamic courts. Sources said the talks faltered because of the UIC's demand for the withdrawal of foreign troops allegedly deployed in Somalia.

Dinari said Adan was "usurping the role of the executive, which is the one entrusted by the charter [interim constitution] to undertake any negotiations on behalf of the government".

For his part, Adan dismissed the TFG's concerns, saying: "I do not need any permission from anyone to engage in dialogue to further the reconciliation process. Our efforts have already reduced the tension and our points of agreement show that we are working in the interest of the Somali people."

"We will continue with our efforts at reconciliation no matter what," he added.

In a statement issued on Friday, the UIC and the MPs' delegation agreed, among other things, to continue the Khartoum talks and create conditions that would reduce the possibility of confrontation. They also called for the continuation of a United Nations arms embargo on the country and the end to all foreign intervention.

The transitional government has repeatedly called for the lifting of the arms embargo and for the deployment of peacekeepers in the country, both issues opposed by the UIC.

"The transitional government is opposed to the talks because the outcome seems to support the Islamic courts' positions," a political observer said. 

However, the international community seems to back Adan's efforts to negotiate with the UIC. "Any initiative that reduces the risk of confrontation and leads to the opening of dialogue is welcome," said a western diplomat involved in the Somali talks. "The TFG's rejection is unreasonable."

The first vice-chairman of the UIC, Abdirahman Janaqow, said: "We have had fruitful discussions with the speaker and his delegation and we agreed to continue with dialogue. Anyone who is opposed to this initiative is against the interest of the Somali people."

Since the UIC took control of Mogadishu in June, it has continued to extend its authority over much of southern and central Somalia, challenging the authority of the transitional government, which was set up in 2004 to restore law and order after 15 years without a national government.



This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006

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