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Somalia:Key political meeting opens in Somalia

Monday, September 5, 2011

Laaska News Sept. 5,2011

 MOGADISHU, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — A United Nations (UN)- sponsored national consultative meeting for Somalia on Sunday opened in Mogadishu to discuss ways of implementing the transitional tasks during the 12-month mandate of the current interim government.

The meeting held in the parliament building in Mogadishu was attended by top Somali leaders, regional politicians as well as leaders of Ahlu Sunnah Waljama, a key armed faction in Somalia as well as the foreign dignitaries.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who spoke at the opening ceremony said that he expected the three-day meeting will produce a road map for the current government to fulfill the task of reforming the Somali parliament, drafting of a new constitution and the completion of the national reconciliation with opposition groups.

The consultative meeting is a follow-up to a June meeting in the Ugandan capital Kampala that resulted in the ending of differences between top Somalia leaders and an agreement dubbed the Kampala Accord that called for the extension of the government mandate to one year ending in August 2012.

 Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and speaker of the Somali parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan as well as leaders of local Somali regional states of Puntland and Galmudug in eastern and central Somali regions were also attending.

The UN envoy to Somalia Augustine Mahiga who was also attending the opening ceremony of the consultative meeting called on Somali leaders to work for the unity of the Somali people, saying it was for Somalis to decide on their future.

The UN Somalia envoy praised the recent military successes of the Somali government forces and African Union peacekeepers backing them against the radical Islamist group of Al Shabaab which retreated from Mogadishu following major offensive last month.

The second phase of the meeting is expected to be held in Garowe, the provincial capital of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in eastern Somalia. No date was announced for the meeting in Puntland.

The Somali government’s mandate will end in 12 months’ time and leaders want to establish roadmap for ending the transitional period and lead the country to free and fair elections during the current 12-month term.

 Xinhua

 Laaska News.

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