SOMALIS CALL FOR MORE REPRESENTATION AT PEACE TALKS
Mogadishu, 18 October 2002 (PANA)
Thousands of Somalis have held apublic demonstration calling for fair distribution of delegatesat the peace and reconciliation talks, now under way in Kenya'swestern town of Eldoret. The Somali Civil Society Congress, which organised thedemonstration, has appealed to the international community torecognise the importance of civil societies in the success of theconference. In a release addressed to Intergovernmental Authority onDevelopment (IGAD) technical committee, which is hosting theconference, Congress chairman Ahmed Jama Ahmed said the civilsocieties were not adequately represented at the conference. He said that most of the invitations went to the SomaliTransitional Government (TNG) and the Somali Reconciliation andRestoration Council (SRRC) at the expense of grassrootsorganisations. He said the civil societies were supposed to send 100 delegatesto Eldoret, adding that many of those who had been listed toattend the conference were still stranded in Mogadishu. The statement criticised the IGAD technical committee for givingpriority to the warlords and their peer groups, such as chiefsand tribal leaders, warning that this attitude would impactnegatively on the outcome of the conference and aggravate theSomali situation. It said that 52 delegates from various regions were currently onstandby, waiting for invitation to travel to Eldoret. About 350 delegates representing all stakeholders in the Somaliconflict are attending the talks, which are expected to put anend to 11 years of anarchy and war in Somalia, which has not hada central administration since 1991.