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Djibouti Conference

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Annan Hails Progress in Peace Process in Somalia


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday welcomed the development that the Somalia National Peace Conference has moved into its second phase, and hoped it paves the way for substantive inter-Somalian talks about the political future of the African country.

A statement, issued here through Annan's spokesman, said, "The Secretary-General was encouraged by the news that the Somalia National Peace Conference has moved into its second phase.

He welcomes this development and hopes that it paves the way for substantive talks among representatives of all sectors of Somali society about the political future of their country.

" The U.N. chief "also hopes that it will lead to an agreement on the formation of a transitional arrangement that would safeguard Somalia's sovereignty and prepare the ground for a lasting settlement," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General urges all Somalis to join and support the Djibouti peace initiative."

"The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to commend the tireless efforts of President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti to help bring about a political resolution to the Somalia conflict," the statement said.

"He reiterates his support for the process and looks forward to a successful conclusion of the deliberations in Djibouti." Somalia has had no central government since 1991 opposition politicians joined forces to oust President Mohamed Siad Barre.

They then turned on each other, carving the country into militia- controlled fiefdoms.

But if the peace talks succeeded, the warlords could find their power eroded.

An initiative, proposed by President Guelleh, calls on the warlords to turn their factions into political parties, commit to a complete and verifiable disarmament, submit to the primacy of law and respect the creation of a police force.



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