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Senior UN Envoy Begins Seven-Nation Tour

Senior UN Envoy Begins Seven-Nation Tour To Promote Peace In Somalia

New York, Oct 3 2006 2:00PM

Starting a seven-nation mission to promote peace and reconciliation in Somalia, the top United Nations envoy for the war-torn east African country today visited neighbouring Ethiopia to discuss the next round of peace talks between the rival Somali factions.

Acting on recommendations contained in a Security Council presidential statement of 13 July, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Somalia, François Lonsény Fall, also plans to visit Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen for
consultations with their leaders.

“Among the most critical issues on Ambassador Fall’s agenda is the third round of the Khartoum peace talks scheduled for 30 October between the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) based in Baidoa and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) established in Mogadishu,” the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) said in a statement.

The last round of talks between the rival sides took place at the beginning of last month in an effort to bring peace to the impoverished drought-afflicted country, which has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning national government since President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

Mr. Fall had separate meetings today with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security Said Djinnit. In August he said his office had been informed by UIC Executive Council Chairman Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed that Ethiopian troops were in Somalia but it had no monitoring capacity on the ground to confirm the charge.

Mr. Fall will travel to Asmara tomorrow for talks with the Eritrean Government. He is scheduled to visit Djibouti and Yemen next week, before holding talks with leaders in Uganda, Sudan and Egypt prior to the Khartoum talks. Included in his Cairo schedule will be discussions with officials from the Arab League.

ends

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