to peace talks go out
NAIROBI, 9 Oct 2002 (IRIN) - Invitations to attend
the much-postponed Somali reconciliation conference, due to
start next week, have been sent out, sources close to the talks
told IRIN on Wednesday.
"Everything is on track and the invitations to all the
political entities were sent by yesterday, 8 October,"
the sources said. Invitations to civil society groups - which
go to individuals - "should go out by today or tomorrow".
The conference, brokered by the regional Intergovernmental
Authority on Development (IGAD), is due to open next Tuesday
in the Kenyan town of Eldoret. Delegates are expected to start
arriving the day before.
The sources said that invitations to attend the opening ceremony,
which will be presided over by Kenyan President Daniel arap
Moi, had been sent to all IGAD heads of state.
Some 300 delegates from the various groups are expected to
participate, an IGAD source told IRIN on Wednesday. However,
the number of delegates allocated to each group has not been
made public, "and will be seen as delegates start registering,
since some fine tuning will go on up to the last minute".
Invitations have been sent to political groups including the
Transitional National Government (TNG) in Mogadishu; the authorities
of Somaliland and Puntland; the Baidoa-based Rahanweyn Resistance
Army (RRA), which controls much of the Bay and Bakol regions
of southwestern Somalia; the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) which
controls Kismayo, also in the south; and the Somali Reconciliation
and Restoration Council (SRRC), another alliance of southern
factions opposed to the TNG.
The self-declared republic of Somaliland has said it will not
attend the peace conference, as it does not consider itself
part of Somalia. In Puntland and Baidoa, the issue of who will
participate is complicated by the fact that rival leaders are
vying for power.
The peace conference was originally scheduled for April this
year, but has been postponed several times amid differences
between the technical committee mandated to prepare it. The
IGAD technical committee comprises the neighbouring states of
Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.
to Kenyan Ambassador
Abdirahman NZIB, Ambassador
2249 R Street NW
Dear Hon. Yusuf
Abdirahman NZIB, Ambassador,
has disintegrated into tiny tribal zones outlawed by warring
factional fiefdoms, while opinionated leaders are locked in
a clash of wills over political controversies. As a result
a massive humanitarian crises, massive outflow of refugees
and vast number of internally displaced persons. Mass impoverishment,
misery, hunger, disease and insecurity rein the country and
a peaceful Somalia
is vital to regional stability.
The call for a broad-based
national reconciliation conference can only be helpful when
proper measures are made well in advance before arranging
to assemble the round table meeting. It looks that, the peace
conference in Kenya
is launched in hurry, allowing no ample time for the different
opposing factions to make more efficient strategies to enable
them coordinated stands to hammer out unified positions. Agreeing
on an appropriate convenient time schedule to conduct the
meeting is also in question; given the month of Ramadan is
fast approaching. Also, the 17 people that IGAD has selected
to assist with the peace process is unacceptable since it
didn’t take into account the aspirations of Muddullood
and other clans who are not represented on this group and
fear to be marginalized and not to be addressed their legitimate
According to the sources,
the Transitional National Government (‘TNG’), the opposition
Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) and signatories
to the Nakuru accord, signed by
some faction leaders in December 2001; will be invited to
attend the conference “without any conditionality”. Other
participants will include regional representatives from Somaliland
(there is big question now), Puntland
and the newly-declared “State of Southwestern
Somalia/SRRC”, as well as members
of civil society groups.
The serious political obstacle
would be the issue of representation which constitutes an
essential ingredient that guarantees the success of the national
reconciliation and peace efforts or a failure. What may call
off the very effort to hold a peace conference is the question
of representations or strategic issues undermining the prospects
for peace. We believe that, the inclusion of civil society
groups would be a major holdup since they have supported and
continue to shore up the Arte group and could well tip the
balance. They use deceptive labels as masks designed to give
false impressions and credentials, but have a dismal record
for formulating any rational political strategies and are
no more than forums of dissent against national goals or agents
of disunity which engage in promoting trivial clan affairs
at the expenses of common national issues. They derive their
unwavering supports on the lines of clan loyalties.
It is absolutely important
to avoid problems of over representations of certain clans
who have same political objectives but try to mislead the
international community and project themselves as opposing
groups to mask their clan objectives; or appointing various
elements without power of attorney such as self-appointed
failed warlords who joined the Arte group or elements from
the autonomous administrations of Somaliland, Puntland
& others who joined the Arte group without representing
their own people and who are now gearing up to form civil
society groups based on clan affiliation ‘ bogus political
parties’ just to attend the conference and who are without
any mandate to represent their respective factions, and have
no authority or political clout to enforce the terms of any
peace accord. What would be the role of the civil society?
They all lack public trust, authority and political clout
to enforce the terms of peace accord.
Official invitations must
be extended only to all factional political force leaders
or ‘peace-lords’ (SRRC, Somaliland & Puntland) to participate in the proposed peace conference
and those who attended the Arte gathering or reconciled with
group (including signatories to the Nakuru
accord) and must be represented by Abdul Qasim
in fairness to the ‘TNG’. These factions are in my view can
decide in the process for a peace and reconciliation in the
country. Therefore great efforts should be invested in bringing
such factions to the peace conference that can address the
roots of the current political crises of the country and guarantee
the success of any peace plan.
In actuality, major impediment
for peace in Somalia is that the ‘TNG’ who wishes to bargain
as a government, which is an exaggeration on their part; while
its opponents who are more generous in my opinion want to
present itself (in any talks) as one of the factions in Somalia.
The ‘TNG’, even though militarily, organizationally and in
terms of area under its control in Somalia is much smaller
than that, of its opponents, the acknowledgment it has won
due to the acceptance by the UN credentials committee of the
General Assembly and because of the general support from African
and non-aligned countries on the committee and it was a big
The ‘TNG’ must be reminded
that, Somalia has long ceased to exist as a nation state,
according to international law, which defines a sovereign
state “as units of a legitimate authority that can control
its borders and govern its people under a set of constitutional
and legal orders” functioning to fulfill rights and obligations.
Therefore, it must agree to the demand of international community
to restore peace and the framework of government to Somalia
without any precondition. The political momentum in Somalia
has shifted and without being skeptical the “TNG” must be
ready to put on the table big things and not loose the last
chance for peace in Somalia
and get on with it.
On the issue of Somaliland,
we support the SC Presidential Statement on Somalia
on 28 March 2000.
The Security Council Statement said, “The Security Council
recalls the Statements of its President of 31
October 2001 (S/PRST/2001/30) and 11
January 2001 (S/PRST/2001) and all other previous
decisions concerning the situation in Somalia.
The Council, having considered the report of the Secretary-General
of 21 February 2002 (S/2002/189) and having held public meeting
on 11 March 2002, reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive
and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, reaffirming
its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political
independence and unity of the country, consistent with the
principles of the Charter of the United Nations”. We therefore,
call upon all the international community to recognize the
fact that, only, the total sums of all parts of Somalia
make the whole.
Finally, the Muddullood
people in the Diaspora and in the country whole heartedly
support the peace process and encourage all Somalis to rally
their support for unity and stability and seek their positive
public response and blessing for the initiative of President
of Kenya Hon. Daniel Arap Moi and his IGAD counterparts.
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