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UN Special Envoy Urges Reconciliation in Somalia


The United Nations special envoy to Somalia has traveled to the country's ravaged capital of Mogadishu in an effort to energize national reconciliation talks.

Francois Lonseny Fall Tuesday told the peace conference that reconciliation and peaceful discussions are the only way to end 16 years of anarchy and violence in the Horn of Africa country. He said the international community is committed to support the peace efforts.

Fall's visit comes as government soldiers and their Ethiopian allies battle Islamic insurgents. A mine explosion today killed two civilians and wounded at least three others, including two security troops.

Hardline Islamists and some rebel clan elders have boycotted the Mogadishu peace conference which opened in mid-July. They have announced plans to organize their own talks in Eritrea in September.

Somalia has been in chaos since 1991 when rebels overthrew dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. The United Nations helped form a government in 2004, but it has not been able to restore peace.

Last year, the Islamists (the Islamic Courts Union) took control of Mogadishu until troops supporting the interim government backed by Ethiopian forces forced them out.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.