Nairobi, August 18, 2007 - Kenya on Friday urged warring factions in Somalia to embrace dialogue as a way of resolving the protracted conflict in the Horn of Africa nation.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki urged Somalia's transitional federal government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) which have been fighting in Mogadishu and other parts of the war- torn nation to resolve the crisis which has plagued the lawless nation through dialogue.
Speaking during a meeting with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf in Nairobi, Kibaki, whose country chairs the regional mediating body, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said it was high time the warring parties in Somalia gave peace a chance in order to end the suffering of innocent civilians.
"President Kibaki encouraged the people of Somalia to embrace dialogue at all times as the best way of amicably solving disputes," Kibaki said according to a statement from the Presidential Press Service (PPS).
He reassured President Yusuf that the Kenya would not waver in its commitment to ensure peace in the region which has been ravaged by myriad of conflicts.
President Kibaki said the east African nation will not fully enjoy the fruits of the achievements made in the last four and a half years if there is no peace and stability in the neighbouring countries.
During the meeting, President Yusuf briefed his counterpart on the ongoing national reconciliation congress in Mogadishu which started on July 15 and is expected to last 45 days.
The reconciliation conference seen as the last best chance to bring some peace to anarchic Somalia was postponed last Wednesday after the unity meet hit the one-month mark.
The congress, which is the first of its kind to be held in Somalia, has been hailed as a Somali-driven process that offers the people of Somalia an opportunity to participate, own and support the final outcome of the reconciliation process.
The Somali President said the first phase of the congress, which was largely successful, focused on resolution of clan conflicts, peace and disarmament.
President Yusuf added that the second phase of the congress, which has already begun, will dwell on national reconstruction and political issues, among them good governance, sharing of natural resources and power sharing in line with the transitional Charter.
"He said the issue of sea piracy and welfare of refugees and internally displaced people would also be addressed in the second phase of the congress," the statement said.
The conference, which several key opposition groups are boycotting, is set to restart Saturday after being adjourned last Wednesday.
The Hawiye clan, Mogadishu's largest, has split over attending the conference and the different factions are set to hold negotiations during the recess to come to a common position.
Somalia 's transitional government, backed by Ethiopian warplanes, tanks and troops, drove an Islamist movement out of Mogadishu in late December, ending its six-month rule of the capital and much of the south under strict sharia law.