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EU To Present Memorandum To Somali Parties
ISSUE 257
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Kenyan Parliamentary Delegation Given A Heroic Welcome In Somaliland

Islamic Courts called on foreign Muslims to fight Ethiopia

Djibouti: A Double Agent

Somali Courts Chief Threatens To Free Men Convicted Of Terrorism In Somaliland

SOPRI Delegation Travel To Togdheer Region

United Nations Issues Call For Peace During Lull In Somalia's Fighting

Peace Hopes Fade In Somalia As Fighting Rages

UIC capture frontline town

Heavy clashes in Somalia: ICRC calls for protection of civilians

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia Warns Losing Patience As Somalis Clash

Kenya: State Acts to Control Fever That Has Killed 11

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Rice Welcomes Ugandan Role in Easing Somalia

Annan Deplores Escalating Somalia Conflict

Resource warfare intensifies across "Grand Chessboard" and Horn of Africa

Somalia Crisis Centers on Islamist Hardliners Versus Ethiopia, says Analyst

U.S. Does Not Plan To Send Troops Against al-Qaida in Somalia

Gang Leader 'Incredibly Violent'

U.S. Sees Growing Threats In Somalia

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Why The United States Should Recognize Somaliland’s Independence

Chavez Landslide Tops All In US History

Seven Questions: War in Somalia

Africa's Challenge To Hollywood Dominance

INCREDIBLE: Nomads Survive On Camel Milk For One Month

Somalia: Country outlook

Food for thought

Opinions

An Open Letter To Hon. Muite Team In Somaliland

Somaliland Constitution & Islamic Sharia Law

The Reappearance Of Siyad Barre's Henchman

Think-Tank Mission To Somaliland By SOPRI

The Need For Somaliland To Be Vigilant...

Islam Used To Oppress Women

Arabs vs. Israel

Factors Behind Ethiopia's War Against Somalia

Is Rayale Eligible For Another Term?


NAIROBI, December 19, 2006 – The European Commissioner of Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, is to press both sides in the Somali conflict "to resume talks in order to find a peaceful solution", the European Union has announced.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the EU said Michel, who is expected to travel to Somalia, would present a memorandum of understanding to Somalia's adversaries, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), in a bid to prevent an escalation of the conflict.

"The European Commission remains deeply concerned at the deteriorating security situation in Somalia and the risk of an imminent conflict between the Transitional Federal Government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts," it said.

Tensions have been rising in the country since 6 December, when the United Nations Security Council approved plans to send peacekeepers to protect the TFG, based in the southern city of Baidoa, and partially lift an arms embargo. The UIC is opposed to the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission.

Forces of the UIC and those of the transitional government have been massing around Baidoa, prompting some residents to leave their homes amid fears that fighting could break out at any time, witnesses said.

A local resident told IRIN on Tuesday that residents had fled many villages near Baidoa, afraid of being caught in crossfire.

"Some villages, like Daynuunay [15 km north of Baidoa] are totally deserted," he said. He said many people living in villages to the north and west of Baidoa have been leaving in the past two weeks. "I think people are taking precautions and are getting out of the way in case war breaks out," he added.

Most Somalis, including both the TFG and the UIC, have welcomed this latest EU initiative, as efforts to avert an all-out war by the international community intensify.

"We have always welcomed and supported any efforts aimed at avoiding war in our country," Abdirahim Ali Mudey, the UIC's head of communication and information told IRIN on Tuesday. "We will of course support the Commissioner's effort but we will also tell him our views on the way forward."

TFG Information Minister Ali Jama Jangali said: "We welcome any efforts by anyone or organization that would contribute peace and stability in Somalia. The TFG will, however, issue a comprehensive statement tonight or tomorrow on the visit."

"As civil society we welcome this new EU initiative," Abdillahi Shirwa of the Civil Society in Action, a coalition of civil-society groups, said.

"If they [the EU] are serious and keep the pressure on both sides it will have a positive impact," he said, adding, "The last thing Somalia needs is war. It would be a humanitarian catastrophe on already suffering people."

According to the UN, "the consequences of any widespread conflict would be disastrous, including massive internal movement, civilian casualties, and further livelihood and asset erosion."

Up to 454,500 people are estimated to have been displaced countrywide, particularly in the Juba and Shabelle riverine regions, after heavy rains in September-November in Somalia and Ethiopia caused extensive destruction of property and loss of crops and livestock.

The statement said that Michel had contacted key players in Somalia, including the President of the TFG, Abdillahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Ali Muhammad Gedi, and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Michel also contacted Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, the Chairman of the Consultative Council of the UIC.

It said his memorandum had the support of "key international partners. By signing this memorandum, all parties would commit themselves to an immediate cessation of hostilities and to a resumption of talks at the highest level in the framework of the Khartoum process."

The two sides have twice met in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, but failed to reach any lasting agreement.

Somalia 's transitional government was installed in late 2004 in an effort to bring peace and security to the Horn of Africa country, which has not had an effective government for 16 years.

In June this year, the UIC defeated the warlords who had controlled the city since 1991, following the collapse of the regime headed by Somalia's last real president, Muhammad Siyad Barre.

Source: United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

 


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