Somalia’s government must make bigger efforts to reach out to faction leaders not included in a reconciliation conference if it is to succeed in bringing peace to the chaotic country, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
The conference, twice delayed because of insurgent attacks near the venue, began on July 15 with donor backing.
It is seen as the best hope for peace in a country that has been plagued by violence and inter-clan warfare since the fall of military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
But many faction leaders have refused to attend, including some Hawiye clan elders and exiled Islamist leaders who oppose the presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia.
“All those who are part of the conflict in the country have to sit together,” U.N. envoy to Somalia Francois Lonseny Fall told journalists on a visit to Mogadishu.
“We want an all-inclusive dialogue in Somalia.
Fall said he had met with Hawiye elders to try and persuade them to take part. But the elders rejected his plea.
“We have told him (Fall) this conference will not do anything for the Somali people,” said one, Mohamed Hassan Had.
Fall said Islamists behind an insurgency against the Somali government and its Ethiopian military backers must be persuaded to lay down their arms and take part in the talks.