A conference scheduled for January will bring together a wide range of Somali political groups, non-governmental organizations and traditional leaders to work toward a solution to their country’s disorder.
The meeting follows two earlier sessions, one in Geneva in October and a second held December 3-5 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Addis gathering, called the Second Coordination Meeting on Somalia, brought together Somali representatives, officials from international relief organizations and major donor nations, including the United States. Under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, participants discussed how to overcome the obstacles to effective delivery of relief and emergency assistance. The January consultation, which UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is considering attending, will attempt to forge a workable political consensus.
During the December session, the Somali representatives issued a declaration endorsing the dispatch of American troops, who were then en route to Somalia, and appealing for an intensification of diplomatic efforts to achieve a political settlement.
Their statement, reprinted below, was signed by traditional leaders, officials of non-governmental organizations and representatives of the largest political groups in Somalia, with the exception of the faction headed by Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid.
The traditional community leaders as well as the leaders of the movements participating in the Second Coordination Meeting on Somalia believe that the existence of hostile political grouping is the main obstacle to the achievement of speedy political settlement in the country. The traditional community leaders and the leaders of the political movements wish to make the following declaration to the Somali public and to the world community at large:
1) We fully support the historic decision of the Security Council to send humanitarian protection forces to Somalia to ensure the safe delivery and distribution of emergency relief and recovery assistance to all Somalis in need and to ensure the security of relief workers and all relief and recovery supplies.
2) We call for immediate cease-fire in all parts of the country.
3) We propose the convening of a conference on National Reconciliation under the United Nations auspices.
4) We request that the Organization of African Unity, the Standing Committee for the Horn of Africa, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference to take active part in all efforts toward national reconciliation in Somalia.
5) We ask the United Nations to guarantee the implementation of the agreed results of the Reconciliation Conference.
6) We appeal to Somali traditional community leaders and other leaders—religious, political and business—to support and promote the unity and the reconciliation of the Somali people.
We wish to extend our sincere thanks to the world community, the neighboring countries, the Economic Commission for Africa, friendly governments and the United Nations for the assistance given to the Somali people in their hour of need. And finally,
We appeal to the world community to extend humanitarian aid to Somali refugees stranded in all parts of the world.