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Djibouti Conference

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Somali warlord Ali Mahdi supported Djibouti's peace initiative


Somali warlord Ali Mahdi Mohamed said Saturday he supported Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh's peace initiatives for Somalia, but considered next week's reconciliation conference unrealistic.

"I support the call for peace in Somalia by Guelleh, but the emphasis on the ideals of personalities that are not in touch with the realities of Somalia would hamper the whole peace process," Ali Mahi told AFP.

He said that the plan to hold the conference in Djibouti on April 20 to elect a parliament was a "premature move that requires political wisdom."

Under Guelleh's peace plan, the proposed parliament would elect a president to run the country for an interim two-year period before elections were held.

Ali Mahdi urged warring factions in Somalia that rejected the Djibouti call for the reconciliation conference to air their grievances in a constructive way to the Djibouti government and then join the peace effort.

His comments came as a delegation from Djibouti, led by presidential advisor Osman Ahmed Yousuf, was in the Somali capital for talks with clan leaders on the peace proposals.

Ali Mahdi said he had urged faction leader Hussein Mohamed Aidid to endorse the Djibouti plan which is aimed at paving the way for a central government in the country.

Aidid is opposed to the plan, despite it having considerable support inside Somalia and from the outside world, on the grounds that it interferes with the country's internal affairs.

Somalia plunged into anarchy and has been without a central authority since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.


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