(AFP)–The Somalian government is due to hold ice- breaking talks with Asmara-based opposition leaders in neighboring Djibouti next month, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.
The first talks between the transitional government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia are due to start on May 10, » a ministry statement said.
The statement said the talks were part of reconciliation efforts launched by Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein Adde and supported by the U.N. secretary general’s special representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.
Following consultations with key brokers in Nairobi, Somali officials from the rival camps had gathered in Djibouti earlier this month but talks never began in earnest.
Some key players in the planned talks have suggested that the new May 10 meeting could yet be postponed by a surge of violence in Mogadishu.
More than 60 people, many of them civilians, were killed on April 19 and 20 in the Somali capital during heavy clashes between Ethiopian-backed government troops and Islamist-led insurgents, the worst fighting this year.
Ould Abdallah voiced his hope that the landmark talks would not be further delayed.
« Any such meeting will be accompanied by violence both before and afterwards and it needs courage to convene and attend the meeting, » he said.
Since taking office in November, Nur Hassan Hussein has engaged Somalia’s Islamist opposition. His predecessor Ali Mohamed Gedi sought to broker national reconciliation whilst excluding the government’s main foes.