n African Renaissance - Somali reconciliation conferences : the unbeaten track

Volume 3, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


Since 1991 there has been 15 major national and an uncountable number of regional and clan reconciliation conferences, most of which took place outside of Somalia. Ethiopia hosted four, three in Addis Ababa in 1992-93 and one in Sodere - a hot spring resort about 100 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa - in January, 1997. Djibouti hosted three, two in June-July, 1991, and in May 2000 in Arta, a summer resort near Djibouti. What strikes one the most are the similarities in the way these peace and reconciliation conferences were conducted. Each conference attempted to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive peace, and each supposedly represented the entire nation. Most were hosted by a friendly neighboring country, supported by the Somali public, the United Nations, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations or NGOs. Key participants included representatives of armed factions, collaborators of faction 'leaders,' and former civilian politicians and army officers who clearly helped put the country in the position where it is today. At the start of each meeting, there were great expectations and hopes that there would be no more missed opportunities for peace. But these conferences were all doomed to fail leaving Somalia without a functioning government.

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