Factions Agree on Agenda at Peace Conference
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) _ Despite recent clan fighting, rival factions have agreed on an agenda for a peace conference planned March 15, a U.N. spokesman said Sunday.
The so-called ad hoc committee representing the 14 factions reached agreement Saturday - despite being interrupted by two days of unrest in Mogadishu. The unrest was sparked by fighting in the southern port of Kismayu.
The Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will pick up from talks that broke down in January.
Somalia has been without a government since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was ousted in January 1991. U.S.-led forces arrived in December to prevent clan fighting and fight famine, which together have killed hundreds of thousands.
The ad hoc committee adopted a draft report and 16-point agenda that includes establishing a transitional authority and police force, a transitional constitution, regional autonomy and reconstruction, said U.N. spokesman Farouk Mawlawi.
Also to be discussed are human rights, humanitarian assistance and resettlement of refugees.
The peace talks in January broke down after fighting between Mohammed Said Hirsi, known as Gen. Morgan, and Col. Omar Jess, an ally of one of Somalia’s main warlords, Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
On Monday, fighters backing Morgan drove Jess and his supporters out of Kismayu, 300 miles south of Mogadishu.
Aidid supporters staged violent demonstrations Wednesday in Mogadishu after Aidid accused U.S.-led forces of aiding Morgan.
Also on Saturday night, Australian forces on patrol in Baidoa, 150 miles northwest of Mogadishu, shot and killed a Somali as he aimed his gun at them, said Chief Warrant Officer Eric Carlson, a U.S. military spokesman.
Two other Somalis at the scene opened fire. The Australians returned fire and the two fled.