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Ethiopian Foreign Minister Urges Donors To Assist Somalia Peace Effort
Addis Ababa, January 11, 2007 – Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin called upon the international community and donors to extend towards efforts under way to ensure peace in Somalia through broad-based reconciliation.
Speaking to ambassadors of donor countries and representatives of international donor organizations at a meeting held here on Thursday [11 January], Seyoum said this is a historical and unique opportunity for Somalis to ensure peace and stability in Somalia, which remained stateless and rocked by instability for many years.
He said it would be inappropriate for the international community to see Somalia to turn into chaos again by ignoring the existing opportunity.
Seyoum said the international community should give necessary support to deploy immediately an African Union peacekeeping force to Somalia.
He said the international community should also encourage other African countries to participate in the deployment of the peacekeeping force, as the number of the peacekeeping forces is beyond the capacity of IGAD [Inter-Governmental Authority on Development] member countries.
Seyoum said the international community should support the efforts of reconciling Somalis by helping rout out their differences and ensure peace and stability in that country on time.
Pointing out that Ethiopia is keen to withdraw its troops immediately, Seyoum said deploying African peacekeeping force is critical.
He said president and prime minister of the Federal Transitional Government of Somalia have expressed their readiness to hold reconciliation with clan leaders, members of the business community, elders, women and youth association and moderate members of the UIC who renounce their ideology.
Seyoum said it was inappropriate for certain quarters to compare the situation in Somalia with that of Iraq.
He said the prevalence of peace and stability in Puntland and Somaliland shows that Somalis are ready to bring about peace and stability by their own through "dialogues under tree shade in a Somali way."
Ambassadors of donors countries and representatives of international donor organizations who participated at the meeting said they would extend support to efforts under way to ensure peace in Somalia.
According to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they said details regarding the number of peacekeeping forces and necessary support required should be made available soon.
Seyoum gave explanation to questions regarding the various short-time activities that the TFG would undertake.
He also said there is a plan to hold regional reconciliation conferences in Mogadishu and its environs in Banadir with the objective of bringing about a lasting peace in Somalia.