SOMALIA: New date set for talks
NAIROBI, 11 Sep 2002 (IRIN) – The much-postponed Somali reconciliation conference,
brokered by the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD),
has been rescheduled to convene on 15 October in the western Kenyan town
of Eldoret, a Kenyan foreign ministry official told IRIN on Wednesday.
On 6 September, Kenyan
Foreign Minister Marsden Madoka told an IGAD Council of Ministers meeting
in Nairobi that the conference should open on 30 September.
« It is now agreed
that the conference will take place no later than 15 October, » said
the Kenyan official. Delegates were expected to arrive on 12 October for
At least 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
had not yet been decided. « The [IGAD] technical committee will decide
on that when they meet next week, but the idea is to be flexible and to
bring on board as many stakeholders as possible, » he said.
He confirmed that an
invitation to attend the conference would be sent to the self-declared republic
of Somaliland, but « whether they will attend or not is a different
Last week, Somaliland’s
Information Minister Abdullahi Muhammad Du’ale told IRIN that IGAD was aware
of Somaliland’s position on the issue.
« We never attended
past rounds of talks, we will not attend this one, and we will not attend
future talks, which I am certain will follow this one, » he stressed.
The conference, which
is expected to bring together the Transitional National Government and other
Somali groups, was originally scheduled to take place in April, but has
been repeatedly postponed.