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Djibouti Conference

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Talks hit deadlock on representation

The Djibouti-hosted Somali peace talks have hit deadlock over the composition of the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), introducing a setback to the current timetable issued by the Djibouti government.

Sources in Djibouti told IRIN that the conference, held 30 km south of the capital in Arta, was likely to "take a few days" for the clan delegations to come up with the required list of 225 TNA members.

Each major clan has to share out its given quota among sub-clans, and decide on whether or not to include political leaders. Once the TNA has been chosen, it will elect a prime minister and president.

The election of the president and the conclusion of the conference was due on 30 July. Meanwhile, women delegates last week appointed 25 women representatives to meet with a group from northeastern Somalia to persuade them to remain in the conference.

A group from northeastern Somalia Puntland region had recently opted out of an active role in the talks, conference sources told IRIN. The northeastern delegates had decided to become observers after they were out-voted over the issue of selecting parliamentarians on the basis of clan, instead of region. After talks with the women, the delegation came to the conference hall and called for "a little compromise" so that political differences could be resolved quickly and successfully.

They explained they were under pressure from their home constituencies to select parliamentarians on the basis of region only, said the source.

UN prepared to "deal with consequences"

After a visit to the Djibouti-hosted Somali peace talks, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Randolph Kent, said the UN system should prepare itself for the outcome of the conference.

Kent told IRIN that he "hoped for a very positive result, but one way or another, we have to be ready to deal with the consequences of this initiative".

The UN humanitarian office has set up a Somalia Peace Planning Team to prepare for a "post-Djibouti scenario" in partnership with the Somalia Aid Coordination Body, an umbrella group of UN agencies, international NGOs and donors, and established technical committees in Somalia.

Kent warned that because of lack of confidence from the international community over the last decade, UN resources for Somalia were limited.



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