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Envoy Presses for Resumption of Somali Peace Talks

UN Envoy Presses for Resumption of Peace Talks in Letter to Somali Islamic Leader

New York, Jul 27 2006 4:00PM

The senior United Nations envoy to Somalia today wrote to the chairman of the Executive Council of Islamic Courts in the troubled country to reiterate his call for the resumption of peace talks with the Transitional Federal Government, a UN spokesman said.

In his letter, François Lonsény Fall, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, appealed to Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to send a delegation to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, for fresh talks with the Government, which ended last month.

Mr. Fall also assured Sheikh Ahmed that the UN is committed to pursuing all avenues for peace and reconciliation through dialogue in Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

Earlier this week Mr. Fall travelled briefly to Somalia, where he met Sheikh Ahmed in the capital Mogadishu and held talks with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in Baidoa. The President agreed to send a delegation to Khartoum next Wednesday to resume talks, while Sheikh Ahmed said a decision would be made after consultations with his delegation.

During their meeting on 22 June, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire and promised to refrain from any provocations that could lead to an escalation of the conflict. Earlier last month militias associated with the Executive Council of the Islamic Courts drove warlords out of Mogadishu to take control of the city.

The spokesman added that in Nairobi earlier today Mr. Fall also briefed a series of officials on his visit to Somalia, including representatives from the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

ENDS

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