Somali Government Boycotts Peace Talks with Islamic Group

July 17, 2006

Source: IRIN News

On July 17, 2006 IRIN News reported, "Peace talks scheduled for Saturday in Sudan between Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Union of Islamic Courts, currently in control of the capital, Mogadishu, stalled after the government boycotted the talks. However, a Somali member of parliament told IRIN on Monday that the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) had voted to attend reconciliation talks, sponsored by the Arab League. Saturday's talks were to have taken place in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. A delegation from the UIC, which controls Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia, is already in Khartoum, but the TFG has declined to send a delegation, accusing the UIC of violating an earlier agreement. 'Parliament believes that the TFIs [transitional federal institutions] were set up to further the reconciliation process and we are all agreed that we should attend the talks,' said MP Abdulkadir Sheikh Muhammad. He said no decision had been made 'on when and the number of people going to Khartoum, but there is no question that we are going'. The two sides had met on 22 June in Khartoum and agreed to meet again on 15 July. At the time, the two also agreed to recognise each other and engage in dialogue. "They [UIC] have violated the Khartoum agreement by engaging in fighting in Mogadishu and capturing new territory and that is why the government could not go to the meeting at this time," Abdirahaman Dinari, the government spokesman, told IRIN. However, Dinari said future talks were possible 'if the UIC proves that they are ready for peace and stop planning for war.'"