Somalia

Somalia: TNG says peace talks facing collapse

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NAIROBI, 26 February (IRIN) - Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) has refused to take part in the peace talks which were moved recently from the Kenyan town of Eldoret to the capital Nairobi, warning that they are facing collapse.
In a statement, received by IRIN, the TNG listed a range of issues it was unhappy with. These include a threat to the "legitimacy" of the conference, caused by the participation of "all sorts of people with no-one to represent".

The statement also called for representation from the self-declared republic of Somaliland, and complained about the "unclear" programme and timetable of the conference, as well as the fact that the talks had "not yet been turned over to the Somalis".

The statement accused Ethiopia of "working tirelessly to marginalise or undermine the TNG and some factions, while favouring others".

"Ethiopian activities at the conference are motivated and driven by its sinister designs for Somalia," the statement said.

"Ethiopia is being encouraged further in this endeavour by the deference accorded to it by the international community - including Kenya - which is seemingly intimidated by Ethiopia's unjustified claim that it is the 'expert' in Somalia's affairs, hence its takeover of the management of the conference."

Along with Somalia's other neighbours - Kenya and Djibouti - Ethiopia is a member of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development's (IGAD) technical committee which is steering the talks.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi admitted his country had sent troops into Somalia to attack members of the Islamist al-Ittihad group.

"They have engaged in terrorist activities in our country," he told the BBC. He claimed there were members of al-Ittihad within the TNG and the transitional parliament.

The TNG statement described Ethiopia as an "adversary" and said Kenya should be the sole facilitator of the talks.

"The TNG sees no reason to continue to be a part of a conference that, without any shadow of a doubt, will collapse under the weight of the problems listed above," the statement concluded.

[ENDS]

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