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Somalia peace conference postponed to May 2


A major conference scheduled to convene Thursday to restore civil rule in Somalia has been postponed to May 2, apparently because of lack of sufficiently representative attendance.

The announcement by an official source asking not to be identified was made after several dozen among 800 expected participants had already arrived.

The news on the eve of the opening was interpreted here as evidence that the number of participants ready to attend was not representative enough, and that preparations were running late.

Officials from Djibouti were reported to be still touring Somalia Wednesday trying to persuade regional leaders and faction chiefs to attend the gathering at Arta, 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Djibouti.

The national reconciliation conference, sponsored by Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, has the widespread support of the international community.

It will be the 13th attempt to get a Somali peace process underway since the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.


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