The African Union
(AU) will be chairing a meeting between Somalia's transitional
government and opposition political parties Friday in Djibouti. The negotiators
will try to achieve a full implementation of this year's Djibouti agreement to
help find a lasting solution to the widespread instability reported in the
country. The AU adds that it is encouraged by the enthusiasm exhibited by both
the transitional government and the opposition towards working together,
bringing peace and security and working to ensure the safety of ordinary
Somalis. The Djibouti agreement, which was signed in early
June by the transitional government and the
main faction of the opposition coalition of the Alliance for the Reliberation
of Somalia (ARS), aims to bring hope and usher in a new era of stability in
Djibouti agreement also stipulates that a ceasefire should take effect
throughout Somalia 30 days after its signing. Under the pact, Ethiopian troops
in Somalia, who crossed into the country in late 2006 to help Somali government
forces oust an Islamist administration in south and central Somalia, would
withdraw within 120 days after deployment of a" sufficient number" of
UN stabilization forces.
Bwakira is the Africa Union's special representative to Somalia. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey that the working relationship between the government and
the opposition to bring about peace is commendable.
"It is important to keep in
mind that the AU is pursuing a policy of stabilization of Somalia. And to
achieve that objective, we are bringing together the transitional federal
government and the opposition. I must say that the current Prime Minister of
Somalia Nur Hassan Hussein has been very focused on talking to the
opposition, essentially, the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia
(ARS). And the alliance has also been very positive. So we have jointly with
the United Nations facilitated the dialogue towards reconciliation between the
TFG (Transitional Federal Government) and the ARS, and this has led to the
Djibouti agreement," Bwakira pointed out.
He described as encouraging
the camaraderie between the Somali Transitional government and the opposition
in working towards finding a lasting solution to the country's instability.
"I think the two parties to
the Djibouti agreement are fully committed. There is a high level political
meeting and the security committee is meeting at a very high level in Djibouti
this weekend. So there is a commitment and I would lead the AU delegation. So
once we have launched this committee, we hope that both the government and the
ARS will go in Somalia and to galvanize the Somali population. I can tell you
that when I was in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu I met with the civil society,
elders, members of the cabinet and they are all for the total implementation of
the Djibouti agreement, and I don't have any doubt that we are going to move
forward," he said.
Bwakira denied speculation
of internal rifts in Somalia's transitional government, which are blamed partly
for obstructing progress toward peace.
"There is no rift as such,
there is only the difference in the interpretation on how the provisions of the
constitution should be implemented. I don't think there was a disagreement on
the dismissal of the mayor of Mogadishu. What was the disagreement was how the
process was conducted," Bwakira noted.
He said the leadership of
Somalia's transitional government is working together amiably to move the
"I've had the opportunity of
talking to both the president and the prime minister and the two together I
think are having communication and discussion in a very cordial manner," he