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Nairobi to Host the East African Foreign Ministers Peace Conference


East African foreign ministers say a peace conference on Somalia will be held in Nairobi in April.

A meeting of east African foreign ministers in Nairobi has ended with an appeal for all Somali factions to join in peace talks in the Kenyan capital in the later half of April.

This week's meeting included officials from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, countries that make up the region's Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.

In a final statement, the officials called the situation in Somalia "grave," with a negative impact on the peace, security and stability of the region.

It says terrorists and extremist groups operate freely in Somalia, taking advantage of the political anarchy that has existed there over the past decade. It says the conflict also fuels the exodus of refugees and the proliferation of an illegal small arms trade.

A Transitional National Government controls parts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, but large sections of Somalia are dominated by local warlords and militias.

The Mogadishu government sent its transport minister, Abdi Mohamed, to the Nairobi meeting. He attended the opening session, but his presence was not mentioned in the final statement.

However, the ministers did say they had been briefed on efforts by the transitional authority to implement a peace accord with some Somali factions, and to cooperate with the international campaign against terrorism.

There are several Somali factions that reject the transitional government and object to any international recognition it receives.

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