Somalia

Somalia: Peace talks to be moved to Nairobi

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NAIROBI, 10 February (IRIN) - The Somali peace talks currently under way in the western Kenyan town of Eldoret are to be moved to the capital, Nairobi, by the end of this week, according to a source close to the talks.
"The technical committee [of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD] is planning to move the delegates on Saturday, 15 February," he told IRIN on Monday. However, the question of who would be moved to the new venue had yet to be decided.

"The number of the delegates who will be moved has not been agreed on yet," the source said. "It is up to the technical committee and the Somali leaders' committee to agree on an exact number."

The talks, which opened on 15 October last year under the auspices of IGAD, have been dogged by disagreements over the allocation of seats to delegates of the various participating groups. The conference was initially meant to bring together 300 delegates, but ended up with nearly 1,000.

That number had now been reduced to around 400, a Somali delegate told IRIN. The technical committee had been trying to reduce it to 300, but so far without much success.

Meanwhile, the new chairman of the talks and Kenya's special envoy, Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, has disclosed that a project management unit has been established for the talks, according to a press statement issued by the Kenyan foreign ministry.

The aim of this unit was "to streamline the administrative and financial management of the conference to attain greater transparency and accountability". The unit had been established with the assistance of the EU, the statement said.

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