A conference aimed at restoring peace to Somalia is due to resume today Thursday. The government adjourned the national reconciliation conference on Sunday after many delegates did not show up and mortar shells exploded near the conference site. Islamist insurgents have threatened to kill anyone who attends the meeting.
Abdi Awale is ambassador-at-large to the United States for the Federal Transitional Government of Somalia. He told VOA the conference will bring about true reconciliation among all Somalis.
“This conference is going to come out with basic solutions to problems that the government is now not in the position to focus on it, such as people who are occupying illegally private and public properties and also the issue of people who are occupying illegally farms public farms and private farms. Those are the two major issues. At the same, this conference is going to talk about forget about the past, by-gone be by-gone, think about today and tomorrow so the Somali people can forgive and forget what happen to each other,” he said.
Awale said all Somalis, including himself, committed a holocaust by destroying their own country. But he said he was optimistic that Somalia will rise again from the ashes.
Islamist insurgents have threatened to kill anyone who attends the meeting. But Ambassador Awale said the Islamists’ threat is intended to hoodwink international public opinion as they are in control of Somalia.
“They are not in control by the way; they only make nuisance by shooting, killing, planting remote bombs. This is a fantasy. They are trying to hoodwink the world public opinion, as they are the power to be. They are nothing but a bunch of gangsters who are trying with the help of international terrorism. If they were good Somalis they would stand side by side with their brothers. But they are not true Somalis,” he said.
Ambassador Awale rejects suggestions by some that Ethiopia’s incursion into Somalia might have made the security situation in the country worse.
Somalia was destroyed by the clan-based militia getting the support of the Ethiopian communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Now a legitimate authority has called on the Ethiopian government to come to Somalia and to help them. So they are more or less like our neighbors, and they know the conditions. The conditions that existed at the time when the Ethiopians came was a threatening, hostile so-called Union of Islamist Courts combined with Eritreans based in Mogadishu. So they declared war, jihadist war against Ethiopia,” Awale said.