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Faction leader Hussein Aidid
"Our objective is..... to have a council which is open to all Somalis"
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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 11:36 GMT
Somali warlords form unity council
(l-r) abdullhi sheikh ismail, hilowle imam omer, hussain aideed, aden abdullhi nur, hassen mohammed hur
The faction leaders say they are committed to peace
Somali warlords and other groups opposed to the country's transitional government have joined together to form a unity council.

They are calling for a national reconciliation conference in order to form what they describe as a "legitimate" government.

We blocked any avenue that can cause a war

Hussein Aidid
Somalia got its first central government for 10 years at the end of 2000 following a peace conference in Djibouti.

This new group argues that that process was flawed as not all Somalis were represented.

The announcement came at a press conference in Addis Ababa where the Somali leaders have been meeting to try and hammer out their differences.

Puntland President Abdullahi Youssouf
Puntland President Abdullahi Youssouf was present at the meeting
Hussein Aidid, who heads the new Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), told the BBC that the Mogadishu government was a faction rather than a government.

Somali President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan was invited to join the reconciliation conference, but as a leader of one of many factions.

Hussein Aidid denied that he, along with the other faction leaders, were responsible for the continuation of conflict within the country.

'Peace makers'

He said: "We blocked any avenue that can cause a war."

He added that they want to achieve peace and reconciliation through dialogue.

Osman Atto
Influential faction leader Osman Atto signed up to the deal
Hussein Aidid said that the "objective is to have a council which can bring... unity among all the [Somali] administrations".

Faction leaders have held talks in the past, but Hussein Aidid claimed that this was the "first time in history" that all the groups had come together for the purpose of reconciliation.

Since its establishment the Mogadishu government has had difficulty asserting its authority outside the Somali capital.

Somaliland and Puntland, two regions in the north of the country, are effectively independent.

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See also:

31 Jan 01 | Africa
Somalia's thoughtful 'warlord'
05 Feb 01 | Africa
Somaliland 'here to stay'
29 Aug 00 | Africa
Somalia's new civilian leader
05 Feb 01 | Africa
Timeline: Somalia
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