- Title: [SW News]( Newswires - XINHUA, AP, Reuters) Security
Council and Somali 'Peace' Process.
- From: 
- Date: [29 Jun 2000]
U.N. Leader Calls
for World Support to Djibouti on Somalia
Story Filed: Thursday, June 29, 2000 12:27 PM EST
(Updated with more quotes, background information)
UNITED NATIONS (June 29) XINHUA - A senior U.N. official Thursday called on the
international community to assist Djibouti financially in its peace initiative for Somalia
in a bid to restore peace in the war-torn African country.
Kieran Prendergast, U.N. under-secretary-general for political affairs, made the
statement as he was briefing an open Security Council debate on the current political and
security situation in Somalia, the first of its kind in recent years.
"Djibouti has made commendable efforts to assist the people of Somalia
to resolve their conflict by peaceful means," he said, adding that Djibouti has
almost entirely financed the Somalia peace meeting, and this turned out to be "an intolerable
Initiated by Bjibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, the warring Somali parties
convened a peace meeting at Arta, 30 kilometers south of the capital Djibouti, to elect a
parliament which would select an interim Somali president.
The meeting, the 13th of its kind initiated by the Djibouti president, started on May
2, and has attracted considerable support from the international community and Somalia's
civil society. However, it was bitterly opposed by the principal warlords in the Horn of
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in the June 16 statement, said here that he was
"encouraged" by news the Somalia National Peace Conference had moved into its second phase.
"We understand that, so far, the Conference has been almost entirely financed by
Djibouti," he said. "This is placing an intolerable burden on a small
State," Prendergast said.
"It is time for the international community to consider seriously how to assist
Djibouti in its peace initiative for Somalia, especially in material ways," he said.
"The Djibouti initiative, which has relied on Somalia's
traditional system of clans in organizing the Conference, appears to be on the right
track," he said.
"We believe that the support of this Council would offer the best deterrence
against capacity to profit from disorder are threatened by a move towards peace," he
Of those who remain outside the peace process in Somalia, by far "the most
serious obstacles" are presented by the two " building blocks," the
self-styled "Somaliland" and "Puntland," he said.
"What is taking place in Djibouti is a unique political experience for Somalia:
this is the first time that Somali elders from all parts of Somalia have met;
the first time that representatives of the grass-roots, of almost all clans, have
discussed ways and means of rebuilding their country in a process based on
consensus-building from the bottom up, and the first time that Somali women have been
actively involved," he said.
"Although Djibouti is acting as host and facilitator, the process is Somali-owned,
and that is very important," he added.
Due to lengthy conflict and drought in the country, Somalia is
suffering humanitarian crisis at the moment.But there is no sufficient guarantee for
safety and security of the international humanitarian workers in the country.
A week of fictional clashes in southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region has left 58 people dead, many of them
noncombatant civilians, reports said Wednesday.
The violence, which flared up Thursday, was sparked by allegations that members of the
Garre subclan had been stealing cattle from their Gido neighbors during the past two
Somalia has been without a central government since the overthrow of
dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, and is wracked by conflict between rival clans and
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Copyright © 2000, Xinhua News Agency, all rights reserved.
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Govts. Urged To Back Somali Peace
Story Filed: Thursday, June 29, 2000 10:32 PM EDT
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The Security Council gave strong support Thursday to a proposal
aimed at ending a decade of violence in Somalia, and urged governments to provide political and financial backing
to the process.
In an open session of the council, the east African nation of Djibouti, the author of
the initiative, said a peace conference currently under way is making great progress and
may be the last chance to save the Somali people from the ongoing fighting.
About 900 Somali delegates -- including elders and political leaders -- have been
meeting in the town of Arta in neighboring Djibouti since May 2, with the goal of writing
a charter and establishing a transitional assembly to restore a central government to Somalia.
Although most Somali warlords have snubbed the conference launched by Djibouti's
President Ismail Omar Guellah, the Security Council urged them to join the peace effort.
The conference ``has made great progress'' so far, Djibouti's U.N. Ambassador Roble
Olhaye told the council, and ``Somalia appears to be on its way ... to genuine dialogue.''
He told the council that delegates were expected to reach an agreement by July 15.
Somalia has not had a central government since 1991, when warlords
conspired to oust dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, then turned on each other as the country
disintegrated into warring fiefdoms.
An American-led U.N. peacekeeping mission from 1992 through 1995 failed to reconcile
Olhaye said the current conference gave voice to the people of Somalia,
rather than only to the factional leaders, who have so far failed to end fighting.
But some members of the council expressed concern though that the warlords still
refused to take part in the conference.
``We would encourage all regions of Somalia to take part in the peace and reconciliation process,'' said
British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock.
Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, who governs the breakaway republic of Somaliland, along with
faction leaders Hussein Aidid and Osman Ali Atto oppose the peace plan.
The United States appeared cautious and warned of the difficulties ahead.
``Even if the current discussions in Djibouti produce a blueprint for an interim
government, we must remember that this is only the first step and perhaps the easiest step
toward the rehabilitation of Somalia,'' said deputy U.S. ambassador Nancy Soderberg.
Some 750,000 people in Somalia are affected by the severe drought that has hit the entire Horn of
Africa. The council called on the warring factions to assure the safety and freedom of
movement of humanitarian workers bringing aid to Somalia.
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Djibouti Seeks Help for Somali
Story Filed: Thursday, June 29, 2000 9:15 PM EST
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Little Djibouti said on Thursday that the reconciliation
process it started last year for its giant Red Sea neighbor Somalia was attracting more and more
participants but required financial and technical help.
Djibouti Ambassador Roble Olhaye told the U.N. Security Council that his country had
been playing host to more than 900 official delegates and 1,000 ``others from
everywhere,'' including 100 women, since June 15 in the effort to unify and develop
``The agenda items before the conference seek to institute a decentralized system of
governance, be it regional or federal,'' he said.
But Olhaye added, ``Clearly, the financial burdens and pressures of this total effort
have proven daunting for a country of Djibouti's size and resources.''
Djibouti, a country about the size of Massachusetts with a population of about half a
million, has a per capita gross domestic product of $1,266, according to the U.N.
Kieran Prendergast, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, backed the
appeal for help, saying that while some prominent Somali leaders, including warlords, had
stayed away from the clan-based conference, Djibouti had facilitated a process that was
``This is the first time that Somali leaders from all parts of Somalia have met, the first time that
representatives of the grass roots of almost all clans have discussed ways and means of
rebuilding their country in a process based on consensus-building from the bottom up, and
the first time that Somali women have been actively involved,'' Prendergast said.
Somalia, about the size
of Texas, has had no central government since dictator Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. Two
areas, Somaliland and Puntland, have seceded, and warlords have taken control of clan
Efforts to involve the warlords in reconstituting the nation have repeatedly failed,
but last September President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti proposed political
redevelopment talks that would exclude the warlords.
In March and April, Djibouti was the scene of meetings of Somali elders, professionals,
intellectuals, peace activists and businessmen, Olhaye said. The present talks, in the
resort town of Arta, are scheduled to end on July 15.
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