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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Waiting game at Somali peace talks
Delegates at the conference
The talks have raised hopes of an end to the fighting
Hundreds of delegates at the Somali peace conference in the Kenyan town of Eldoret are still waiting for four key warlords to arrive.

The BBC's Mohammed Adow in Eldoret says that nothing was achieved on Thursday.

Delegates in Eldoret
TNG Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah
Hussein Aideed
Muse Sudi Yalahow
Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigudud
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed
Mohammed Dhere
Even the warlords who are already there did not go to the conference venue, he said.

On Wednesday, hopes rose that this conference may succeed - unlike its 15 predecessors - after four key faction leaders announced they had decided against boycotting the talks.

The BBC's Hassan Barise in Mogadishu says that if the four - Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, Osman Ali Atto, Mowlid Ma'ani and Omar Finish - do travel to Kenya, it will become the biggest Somali peace conference for a decade.

Our correspondent in Eldoret says that some warlords will not participate in peace talks until the president of the Transitional National Government (TNG) Abdulkassim Salat Hassan turns up.

He also says that the organisers are trying to find a way of reducing the number of delegates after 600 people turned up, instead of the 300 invited.

Sanctions

European Union diplomats in Eldoret have told journalists that sanctions were being considered against anyone seen as an obstacle to peace.

These are reported to include travel restrictions, charges of war crimes and the freezing of bank accounts.

Somalia gunman
Somalia has had 11 years of anarchy

"We have renounced our earlier positions for the sole interest of the Somalis," warlord Mowlid Ma'ani said on Wednesday.

"The items we complained about have not been corrected, but we will bring all our complaints before the Somalis in the meeting," he said.

The faction leaders had argued that the allocation of delegates at the talks was unfair.

'Heed the cry'

A correspondent for the BBC says there is a general perception that Ethiopia is emerging as playing a major role behind the scenes.

The TNG has accused Ethiopia of backing some of the warlords and of trying to overthrow it.

President of the Transitional National Government Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
Some warlords are waiting for President Salat to arrive

Ethiopia in turn accuses the TNG of being allied to radical Islamist groups.

In his opening address on Tuesday, Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi urged them to "heed the cry of their people" for peace.

The BBC's Joseph Warungu in Eldoret says that the organisers hope to stop the fighting and set up and all-inclusive government.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Somali warlord Hussein Aideed talking to Nita Bhalla
"We've learnt from our mistakes"
Joseph Warungu on BBC Network Africa
"The hardest part is yet to come"
Mohammed Adow on BBC Focus on Africa
"Most of the warlords did not attend the conference"

Politics

Terrorist haven?

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16 Oct 02 | Africa
12 Jul 02 | Africa
24 Dec 01 | Africa
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