U.N. envoy met Somali government leaders on Monday to try to revive foundering
peace talks with rival Islamists, the latest bid to stop growing hostilities
in the Horn of Africa nation.
Lonseny Fall, the U.N. Secretary-General’s special representative to Somalia,
flew into the government’s sole outpost Baidoa to meet President Abdullahi
Yusuf, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and top officials of the fractured
was tight on the short drive from the airport to the presidential compound,
a day after an Islamist source said fighters loyal to the religious movement
had attacked an Ethiopian military convoy heading to Baidoa.
strongly urge the transitional federal institutions to remain committed to
dialogue. The international community is very, very concerned, » Fall
said, noting the government’s rejection of a deal brokered by their parliamentary
« The secretary-general wants to encourage you to keep the doors of dialogue
open, » he said, adding he expected talks to resume in Sudan’s capital
Khartoum in mid-December.
several hours of talks with Fall, the government said it had invited parliamentary
speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan back to Baidoa, despite rejecting a deal
he brokered to restart talks with the Islamists that failed three weeks ago.
traveled to Mogadishu this month to meet the Islamists, who have challenged
the Western-backed interim administration’s authority by seizing most of southern
came to us worrying about the unity of the transitional federal institutions, »
Gedi said. « When they have read our unified position, their concerns
have been addressed. »
the decision on Adan, but it was not clear if the government was warming to
the speaker’s talks plan
DIFFICULT MOMENT »
always had good relations with the Islamists and some of their businessmen
backers, often putting him at odds with Yusuf and Gedi, both closely allied
to neighbor Ethiopia.
Adan’s peace plan was not discussed with Fall.
envoy’s trip comes in the wake of a U.N. report which says several nations
were fuelling Somalia’s march to war.
The report says at least seven African and Middle Eastern nations are providing
arms and military supplies to the Islamists and three are arming the government.
seized the capital Mogadishu in June and now control much of the south, leaving
the government in Baidoa where residents say Ethiopian troops are protecting
Islamists are just 30 km (18 miles) from Baidoa.
source said on Sunday fighters loyal to the religious movement, which wants
to rule Somalia by sharia law, attacked an Ethiopian military convoy in southern
Somalia. A security source said six Ethiopians were killed in the incident.
it would be the first attack by the Islamists on Ethiopian troops, against
whom they have declared holy war.
Foreign Ministry said on Monday a truck carrying food for Ethiopian trainers
hit a landmine on Sunday, but denied any soldiers were involved, or that there
was a shootout. Addis Ababa denies sending troops to Somalia.
Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.