A prominent Somali warlord called Thursday for the formation of a national unity
government to bring peace to war-torn Somalia.
Militia leader Hussein Aideed told Reuters his Somali National Alliance "is committed
to work for reconciliation and peace in Somalia, especially to bring everybody
on board so as to form a government of national unity."
and three other Somali warlords have been holding talks with Yemeni officials
in Sanaa as part of a bid by the Arab state to help peace efforts in Somalia.
Aideed said Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was making "intensive efforts"
to close the gap between the main opposition Somali faction leaders and Somalia's
newly elected President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan.
warlords have been expected also to hold talks with representatives of President
Abdiqassim Salad, but there have been no reports of the president's men arriving
Salad, elected last weekend by Somalia's new parliament which is based in neighboring
Djibouti, returned to the Somali capital Mogadishu Wednesday and was greeted by
more than 100,000 cheering residents.
has been without a central government since 1991, when former dictator Mohamed
Siad Barre was ousted and the African country dissolved into civil war and anarchy,
with clan-based factions carving out rival fiefdoms.
The militia leaders say the new Somali parliament is not legitimate because it
includes too many former officials of the Siad Barre era. Abdiqassim Salad served
as deputy prime minister and interior minister under Siad Barre.