Somalia

Somalia: TNG to stay in talks, mediator says

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NAIROBI, 14 March (IRIN) - The Kenyan chairman of the Somali peace talks, Bethwel Kiplagat, has said the delegation of Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) will stay in the peace talks, after threatening to pull out earlier in the week.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday after meeting a TNG delegation led by Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah, Kiplagat said the TNG was committed to moving the peace process forward.

On Tuesday, the TNG threatened to leave the talks because of Ethiopia's alleged invasion of "some parts" of Somalia. Ethiopia has denied the allegation, describing it as "totally groundless".

Muhammad Abdi Yusuf, the deputy speaker of the Transitional National Assembly told IRIN at the time the TNG had no confidence in Ethiopia and "sees no point in continuing to be part of a conference managed by Ethiopia". Ethiopia is part of the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) technical committee - along with Djibouti and Kenya - which is steering the talks.

Asked about allegations that Ethiopian troops were massing on the border, Kiplagat replied that he had no evidence so far. He admitted, however, that if such allegations proved to be true, this would have a "serious negative impact" on the peace talks.

Kiplagat added that any change in the composition of the technical committee would be a matter for the IGAD summit, but stressed that the peace process needed the support of the region. He said it could be dangerous to leave parties outside, as they could "put a spanner in the works".

[ENDS]

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