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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 13:01 GMT
Moi reopens Somali border
Somali militiaman
Kenya fears conflcit in Somalia will spill over
Kenya's border with Somalia is to be be reopened immediately, President Daniel arap Moi has announced at the end of four days of peace talks in Nairobi.

A delegation from Somalia's transitional government met with representatives of some of Somalia's most powerful warlords.

This is a goodwill gesture from Kenyans to their Somali brothers and sisters

President Moi
A reconciliation conference will be held at an unspecified future date with the goal of ending 10 years of civil war, according to a written statement issued at the end of the talks.

The 500 kilometre (300 mile) Kenya-Somalia border was closed last July because of fears that the violence and weapons would spill over, destabilising Kenya which plays host to many refugees and has a large ethnic Somali population.

Rival administration

President Moi said the reopening of the border was "a goodwill gesture" and said the conference should be held as soon as possible.

Warlord Hussein Mohamed Aideed
Aideed did not attend the talks

Only one warlord, Osman Hassan Ali "Atto", was present in Nairobi but Mowlid Maan Mohamud, Secretary General of the Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council (SRRC), was there.

The SRRC was formed by several rival factions and has formed an administration opposed to the transitional government in Baidoa.

Key absentees include Hussein Mohamed Aideed, Musa Sudi Yalahow and Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail.

Common agenda

The meeting agreed a common agenda for the reconciliation conference.

This includes clan-based power sharing, national disarmament, renunciation of violence as means of settling political differences and cooperating with the international community in the fight against terrorism.

Somali gunmen
Agreement is needed between a host of competing clans

Since 11 September, Somalia has been cited as a possible place of refuge for Saudi-dissident Osama Bin Laden, chief suspect for the attacks on New York and Washington.

The transitional government of President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan has told the international community that Somalia could become the new Afghanistan unless it receives significant foreign aid.

The transitional government only controls parts of the capital, Mogadishu and very little of the country's rural areas.

Mr Abdulkassim was elected president by a conference of clan leaders in neighbouring Djibouti last year.

Ready for compromise

During the talks, Mr Mohamud said his organisation was ready to compromise.

"We are now ready to establish a national government here in Nairobi, with the broad participation of all Somalis," he was quoted as saying.

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan makes his opening remarks
President Abdulkassim only controls parts of the capital

The warlords have in the past insisted they would only meet Mr Abdulkassim in his capacity as "the leader of another Somali faction" and not as the country's president.

Correspondents say his position with the rebels has strengthened since the prime minister and cabinet recently lost a no-confidence motion, as he now brings possible government posts to the table.

Former Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh was effectively sacked a week ago for failing to bring security and economic stability to the country after a year in office.

The BBC's Louise Tunbridge
"These Nairobi talks appear unlikely to result in any immediate change to Somalia's confused political map"
See also:

01 Nov 01 | Africa
Moi urges Somalis to end misery
29 Oct 01 | Africa
Search begins for new Somali PM
31 Oct 01 | Americas
UN's Somalia peace concerns
17 Oct 01 | Africa
Starvation threat in Somalia
30 Jul 01 | Africa
Kenya bans trading with Somalia
02 Mar 01 | Africa
Somali warlords join forces
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