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Djibouti Conference

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Somali Shilling Strengthens as Hopes for Peace Increased

The Somali currency has been strengthening as hopes for the establishment of a new Somali government increased with the proceeding of the Djibouti peace conference.

The Somali currency was exchanged at 9, 500 shillings to one U. S. dollar on Tuesday, compared with 10,040 shillings to a dollar four days ago.

Three months before the Djibouti conference began, the shilling had been exchanged at 11,500 to one dollar, but it has been steadily gaining ground with the progress of the Djibouti conference.

Many currency dealers attributed the appreciation of the shilling to the growing optimism that a government is now in sight for Somalia.

Despite the rising trend, there have been big fluctuations in the currency since many worried that the peace conference might fail as none of the 12 previous meetings produced any results.

"Twelve previous meetings had ended up in failure after the foreign governments interested in Somali affairs had proved their disagreement over how the Somali crises would be settled," said Mohamed Ali Mohamud, a money dealer in Bakara market.

The dealer said, "The confusion has made us worry and the currency to fluctuate."

The goal of the Djibouti peace conference which started in early May is to choose a 225-member parliament, prime minister and president, hopefully by the end of this month.

Warlords, each backed by ragtag militias, have ruled over the splintered pieces of Somalia since the January 1991 ouster of Mohamed Siad Barre, the dictator who ruled the Horn of Africa nation for 21 years. Since then, no central government has been put in place.



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