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Djibouti Conference

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Egyptian ambassador denies boycott

Egyptian ambassador to Somalia, Salah Halim, denied that Egypt had persuaded faction-leader Hussein Mohamed Aideed to boycott the Djibouti-hosted Somali peace talks.

In an interview published 23 July by 'Ayaamaha' newspaper, the ambassador blamed the Djibouti delegation sent last week to persuade Aideed, saying it should "find out why it failed to achieve its objective".

Egypt "strongly supports" the Djibouti initiative, and was ready to provide "political and financial backing for the conference" said the ambassador. In the interview, he rejected accusations that he had influenced Aideeds' decision not to attend and complained that the Djibouti delegation had refused a request by Egypt to meet and discuss the conference.

Egypt convened the last round of failed Somali peace talks, in which faction leaders pledged to organise a government.

Local newspapers also reported continued demonstrations in Mogadishu and southern Somalia against the Egyptian ambassador.

Anti-Egypt demonstrations were held 24 July in Mogadishu, Kismayo, Bardera and Sakow, reported 'Qaran' web site.



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