The Security Council gave strong support Thursday to a proposal
aimed at ending a decade of violence in Somalia, and urged
governments to provide political and financial backing to
open session of the council, the east African nation of Djibouti,
the author of the initiative, said a peace conference currently
under way is making great progress and may be the last chance
to save the Somali people from the ongoing fighting.
900 Somali delegates -- including elders and political leaders
-- have been meeting in the town of Arta in neighboring Djibouti
since May 2, with the goal of writing a charter and establishing
a transitional assembly to restore a central government to
most Somali warlords have snubbed the conference launched
by Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guellah, the Security
Council urged them to join the peace effort.
``has made great progress'' so far, Djibouti's U.N. Ambassador
Roble Olhaye told the council, and ``Somalia appears to be
on its way ... to genuine dialogue.''
the council that delegates were expected to reach an agreement
by July 15. Somalia has not had a central government since
1991, when warlords conspired to oust dictator Mohamed Siad
Barre, then turned on each other as the country disintegrated
into warring fiefdoms.
U.N. peacekeeping mission from 1992 through 1995 failed to
reconcile the factions.
said the current conference gave voice to the people of Somalia,
rather than only to the factional leaders, who have so far
failed to end fighting.
members of the council expressed concern though that the warlords
still refused to take part in the conference.
encourage all regions of Somalia to take part in the peace
and reconciliation process,'' said British Ambassador Jeremy
Greenstock. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, who governs the breakaway
republic of Somaliland, along with faction leaders Hussein
Aidid and Osman Ali Atto oppose the peace plan.
States appeared cautious and warned of the difficulties ahead.
if the current discussions in Djibouti produce a blueprint
for an interim government, we must remember that this is only
the first step and perhaps the easiest step toward the rehabilitation
of Somalia,'' said deputy U.S. ambassador Nancy Soderberg.
people in Somalia are affected by the severe drought that
has hit the entire Horn of Africa.
called on the warring factions to assure the safety and freedom
of movement of humanitarian workers bringing aid to Somalia.