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Senior UN envoy to visit Somalia next week to push for early resumption of peace talks

Senior UN envoy to visit Somalia next week to push for early resumption of peace talks

Special Representative François Lonsény Fall
Following close on the heels of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s latest appeal to the warring parties in Somalia to resume peace talks, a United Nations-led mission will travel to the town of Baidoa, headquarters of the transitional Government, on Monday to confer with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

The delegation will be headed by Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonsény Fall, and will include representatives of the Somalia Advisory Contact Group of interested countries established earlier this year to support the peace process, the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) announced today.

Mr. Annan’s appeal two days ago was his latest call for dialogue between the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls the capital Mogadishu, and the Transitional Federal Parliament based in Baidoa.

The third round of peace talks between the parties in Khartoum, Sudan, were scheduled to be held on 30 October but were postponed because the two parties came with some preconditions and are now scheduled to be held in mid-December, Mr. Fall told the Security Council earlier this month.

They are intended to discuss security and power sharing in the impoverished drought-stricken country, which has been wracked by factional fighting and has had no functioning national government since President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

“The talks which are now suspended should resume very quickly,” Mr. Annan said on Wednesday. “I also urge the two groups, the Transitional Government and the Islamic Courts, to avoid further confrontation and military action.”

In his briefing to the Council, Mr. Fall called on neighbouring States to avoid interfering in its affairs and using it for a proxy war.

He told reporters afterwards that “there’s a real danger of engulfing this crisis to all the Horn of Africa because we see there is some interference in the Somalia issue” and said the UN was doing its best “to recall to all the Member States in the region to respect the maximum restraint, to not interfere directly in the Somalia issue because we know that Somalia can be the theatre of a proxy war between some countries in the region.”