Little Djibouti said on Thursday that the reconciliation process
it started last year for its giant Red Sea neighbor Somalia
was attracting more and more participants but required financial
and technical help.
Ambassador Roble Olhaye told the U.N. Security Council that
his country had been playing host to more than 900 official
delegates and 1,000 ``others from everywhere,'' including
100 women, since June 15 in the effort to unify and develop
agenda items before the conference seek to institute a decentralized
system of governance, be it regional or federal,'' he said.
added, ``Clearly, the financial burdens and pressures of this
total effort have proven daunting for a country of Djibouti's
size and resources.''
a country about the size of Massachusetts with a population
of about half a million, has a per capita gross domestic product
of $1,266, according to the U.N. Development Program
Prendergast, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political
affairs, backed the appeal for help, saying that while some
prominent Somali leaders, including warlords, had stayed away
from the clan-based conference, Djibouti had facilitated a
process that was essentially ``Somali-owned.''
is the first time that Somali leaders from all parts of Somalia
have met, the first time that representatives of the grass
roots of almost all clans have discussed ways and means of
rebuilding their country in a process based on consensus-building
from the bottom up, and the first time that Somali women have
been actively involved,'' Prendergast said. Somalia, about
the size of Texas, has had no central government since dictator
Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.
Somaliland and Puntland, have seceded, and warlords have taken
control of clan territory. Efforts to involve the warlords
in reconstituting the nation have repeatedly failed, but last
September President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti proposed
political redevelopment talks that would exclude the warlords.
and April, Djibouti was the scene of meetings of Somali elders,
professionals, intellectuals, peace activists and businessmen,
Olhaye said. The present talks, in the resort town of Arta,
are scheduled to end on July 15.