Somalia

Somalia: Prevalence of peace in Mogadishu favorable for convening reconciliation conference - diplomat

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ADDIS ABABA, May 17, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The prevalence of peace and stability in Somalia's capital Mogadishu has created favorable situations for the convening of national peace and reconciliation conference that would be held in Somalia in June this year, Somali ambassador to Ethiopia said Thursday.

The ambassador, Abdikarin Farah, told journalists that Mogadishu is now more stable than it was in the last 14 years as violence and hostilities came to an end.

Farah said all Somalis are hopeful and happy about the reconciliation conference that would be held in the country for the first time.

Reconciliation conferences held in the past were unsuccessful as they were organized by outsiders and the conferences failed to participate all concerned Somalis, he said.

The reconciliation would achieve its goals as it is organized by free and independent committee initiated by Somalis themselves involving all Somalis including those in diaspora, said the Somali ambassador.

Somalis in diaspora are returning to their country to participate in the national peace and reconciliation conference, he added.

The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and all Somalis would fully accept the outcomes and recommendations of the national reconciliation conference, said Farah.

The Ethiopian government and defense forces have played unforgettable and historic role in ensuring peace and stability in Somalia, he said.

The Somali ambassador said the Ethiopian army would stay in Somalia until African peacekeeping force is fully deployed.

Some 1,500 Ugandan peacekeepers are in Somalia as part of a planned 8,000-strong force that the African Union is struggling to assemble.

The Somali ambassador said immediate Ethiopian pullout from Somalia before the full deployment of African peacekeeping force would reverse the current peaceful and stable situation.

Ethiopian army entered Somalia upon the request of internationally recognized Somali government and to foil the threat posed to Ethiopia by international terrorists in Mogadishu, he said.