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|EU Backs IGAD on Somalia Peace Process|
Zablon Odhiambo and Neddy Mbori
East African Standard
July 19, 2003
The European Union yesterday backed the Somali peace process in Kenya and pledged to support the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad).
A statement from the EU Presidency said they would also support a comprehensive and balanced agreement and all-inclusive institutions entrusted with the implementation of the pact.
The statement issued through the Italian Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Carlo Calia, also welcomed the July 5 signing by all Somali factional leaders of a document to usher in a new government in the war-torn country.
The EU President said the approval of the document by acclamation at the plenary assembly of the summit was in line with the EU Council conclusions on Somalia of 22 July last year.
He observed that it was satisfying to observe as the Somali leaders overcame their differences to compromise and allow peace and stability to return to their country.
He hailed Kenya’s Special Envoy to the Somali peace process, Mr Bethwel Kiplagat, for successfully steering the process to its final stages.
The president urged all the Somali leaders who are still out of the conference to join others and allow the summit to move into the third and final phase.
He also cautioned leaders to desist from issues that are likely to jeopardise the smooth continuation and completion of the peace process. They should not particularly scuttle the October 27, 2002 Eldoret Agreement on cessation of hostilities to bring stability to the war-ravaged country.
"The European Union is convinced that the future of the reconciliation process continues to rest in Somalis’ hands. It therefore calls for all Somali leaders to achieve a final compromise at an early date in order to allow for the return of peace and stability to the country, ending a decade of conflict which has caused immense suffering to the Somali people," the statement said.