Somali talks have reached a "make or break" point after more
than three months of negotiations, Djibouti President Ismail
Omar Guelleh said on Tuesday.
the new parliament to sit by the weekend. Speaking at a plenary
session of the Somali National Peace Conference, Guelleh said
the sharing out of seats within the the Transitional National
Assembly (TNA) "proved to be more complex and intricate than
I previously expected". More than 2,000 Somali clan elders,
delegates and observers are at the talks held in Arte, about
30 km south of Djibouti city.
of seats had been held back by "a fight for power" within
each clan, said the president who has been tasked with personally
designating 20 additional seats for the TNA.
is intended to allow him to deal with unresolved clan disputes
over the composition of the parliament. In his address, he
reminded the Somali audience that "the primary objectives
of the Arte conference are to enable Somalia to be endowed
with a viable and legitimate authority".
say that the conference - the 13th clan-based attempt at reconciliation
- is doomed to fail, and have accused the Djibouti president
encouraged delegates to continue. The Arte conference had
already exceeded the efforts of other attempts, he said.
to the world community that I am right in contending that
the resolution of the Somali conflict lies in empowering of
civil society", he urged delegates. The Djibouti head of state
indicated that he expected the TNA to hold its first session
on the future Somali parliamentarians to gear up for electing
the president of the upcoming interim administration. The
last stage of the conference should be handled quickly and
efficiently, Guelleh said.
president - who has been financing the conference since May
- appealed to the conference delegates "to help me put Somalia
back on track and show the world that Somalia can do away
with militaristic options. I want you to rise to the occasion...
before my next trip to the United Nations headquarters, sometime
the conference burst into applause, shouting support, and
singing Somalia's national anthem. Continuing disaffection
among a few sub-clans from the major clan groups has to be
resolved before the new assembly can call its first session.