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|Talks on Course Says Kenyan Mediator|
Nairobi, August 1, 2003 (IRIN) - Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, the chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) technical committee and Kenya's special envoy to the Somali peace talks, told a press conference on Friday that the Somali peace talks were on course and a new Somali government should be formed soon.
The IGAD-sponsored talks on Somalia began in October 2002 in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret, but were moved to the capital, Nairobi, in February this year.
Kiplagat said any government formed at the conference would be universally accepted. "We are confident in our efforts that the government formed here will obtain prompt international acceptance and diplomatic recognition."
He said "the final draft version of the charter" had been distributed and "will be submitted to the delegates on Saturday" for debate and discussion.
He denied suggestions that the draft charter would lead to the dismemberment of Somalia.
According to Kiplagat, chapter one of the charter addresses the issue thus:
Some Somali groups have accused the mediators of presenting a charter that will divide Somalia. In this respect, Kiplagat reiterated that the conference was for all of Somalia and "not a section of it".