The Djibouti talks for Somalias Transitional Federal Government and the Asmara based Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia has grabbed the attention of analysts. In a report on the first phase of talks, the Voice of America VOA reporter Alisha Ryu paints a bleak picture about the outcome of the talks. Alisha reinforces her point with quotes from analysts who laud efforts of the UN envoy for Somalia, the Mauritanian diplomat Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah for getting people talking who were not talking before.
A less reported element in talks is the approach of Somalias president and prime minister who put their weight behind the talks although VOA reporter said Somalia’s powerful interim President Abdullahi Yusuf largely opposes peace talks and favors a military solution. Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein wants direct talks with opposition groups to reach a political reconciliation.
The only precondition that made impossible talks between the Transitional Federal Government in the past was the oppositions demands for complete Ethiopian withdrawal but after the opposition dropped the precondition, the momentum for talks increased.
Donor countries have repeatedly made it clear to the Transitional Federal Government that efforts towards reconciliation is a main benchmark for development assistance to rebuild Somalia. The VOAs report casts the Somali president in a bad light as far reconciliation efforts are concerned. The Somali president welcomes and supports peace talks between the government and the opposition who are not blacklisted as terrorists or terrorism suspect
Somali presidents spokesman Hussein Mohamoud Hussein told Somali Press Review. I dont know where the VOA reporter got that information. It is propaganda aimed at discrediting the Somali president who has a peace-making record dating back to 1993, he added.
The second phase of talks for Somali government and the opposition is slated to take place in Djibouti on May 31.