Arbitration committee for proposed parliament formed
NAIROBI, 23 June (IRIN) - Twelve members of the Arbitration
Committee that will resolve any disputes that might arise during
the nomination of the 275 members of Somalia's proposed
Transitional Federal Parliament were on Tuesday sworn into office
in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The committee members who were named at the end of a meeting of
IGAD (the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development)
regional foreign ministers, were nominated by delegates to the
ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference (SNRC).
Five clans each nominated three members to the committee, but one
clan, the Dir, failed to present its nominees to the IGAD
ministerial team because of a dispute over who was to represent
The ministers, who are mediating the talks under the auspices of
IGAD, warned that faction leaders who had boycotted the Nairobi
peace process risked being subjected to international sanctions.
In a joint communique issued by the IGAD Ministerial Facilitation
Committee, the ministers said they were concerned about "the
unacceptable absence of certain Somali leaders from the Third and
Final Phase of the conference" and urged those leaders to
return to "the conference without further delay."
"No Somali leaders should impose any conditionalities on the
SNRC," they warned. "Spoilers and those who obstruct the
process from within and outside the SNRC will be named publicly
and subjected to targeted international sanctions," the
ministerial communique read by Mohamed Ali
Foum, the African Union (AU) Special Envoy for Somalia, said.
Notable among the absentees were Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, the
president of the Transitional National Government and Musa Sudi
Yalahow, the head of the Somali National Salvation Council.
Each of Somalia's four major clans has been allocated 61 seats in
the proposed parliament, while a fifth clan (an alliance of
minority clans) would have 31 MPs. A Speaker and two deputy
Speakers would be elected from among the MPs, and they in turn
would preside over the election of the president.
The ministers urged delegates to honour the 31 July, 2004 deadline,
set by IGAD, as the end of Phase III of the peace talks.
Somalia has been without a functioning government since the
toppling in 1991 of the regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre. The
IGAD-sponsored talks began in October 2002 in the western Kenyan
town of Eldoret, but were moved to Nairobi in February 2003.
The IGAD facilitation committee said that the AU would soon
dispatch a reconnaissance mission to Somalia to prepare the ground
for the deployment of military monitors. It urged Somali leaders
to cooperate with the initiative.
It also said the IGAD committee would soon visit the AU
headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and the UN
Security Council in New York, to brief the two institutions on
progress in the peace process. The committee appealed to IGAD
partners and the international community to continue funding the
IGAD groups Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
Somalia is also a member but is currently not fully represented in
the organisation because it lacks a functioning government.