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Reconciliation Difficult in Somalia, says Analyst


As diplomats meet in Tanzania Friday trying to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Somalia, analysts say there are many obstacles to overcome. The International Contact Group on Somalia, made up of diplomats from the United States, Europe and Africa, is calling for the reconciliation of all the country’s factions.

Hany Besada is the senior researcher at Center for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Canada. He spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the chances of peace in Somalia.

“The chances of permanent peace really rest on the ability and mobility of the African Union forces to enter and secure Mogadishu. At this point in time, the African Union has been very slow in reacting to calls to intervene with a peacekeeping force. And this is the fear the that Ethiopians had, that once they leave, a power vacuum will emerge in Mogadishu…. The Transitional Federal Government has very little support inside Mogadishu…. Their strength lies on the Ethiopian force to strategically and militarily support them,” he says.

He says a power vacuum could result in a resurgence of violence.

Asked whether reconciliation could be achieved in Somalia, Besada says, “In the past there have been so many meetings taking place and few have really resulted in any conclusive peace talks. I really would hesitate…simply because war has just ended…and I don’t think the Union of Islamic forces are really willing to sit down and negotiate…. They would want to regroup and come back as a stronger force, learning from mistakes of the past.”

Besada also says the so-called warlords in Somalia are not interested in peace. He says that their strength lies in a power vacuum in Somalia.

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