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 Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 08:30 GMT
Fresh mediator for Somali talks
General Morgan
The main warlords have signed up to a ceasefire

The mediator of the Somali peace talks in western Kenya has been replaced.

Things have not been going well for the negotiations in western Kenya.

Complaints have been heaped on Kenyan Mediator Elijah Mwangale - with some delegates calling for an investigation into the alleged mismanagement of donor funds.

Several warlords have also left the talks, citing differences with Mr Mwangale.

The Kenyan Government has now decided to act, replacing Mr Mwangale with Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat.

Complaints

Mr Mwangale's fate is said to have been sealed at a meeting of East African nations chaired by Kenya's new Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka.

According to sources at the Foreign Ministry, the change was deemed necessary because of the numerous complaints about Mr Mwangale since the talks began last May.

Several of the warlords accused him of being dictatorial and out of touch with Somalia issues.

Two weeks ago, Musa Sudi Yalahow, one of the main warlords in the capital, Mogadishu, left the Eldoret talks after differing with Mr Mwangale.

News of the change has been welcomed by participants.

One delegate told me he was convinced that progress would now be achieved.

Respected

However, a Foreign Ministry source told me that consultations with Ethiopia and Eritrea were continuing.

Both countries are said to be unhappy with Mr Kiplagat's appointment.

He is a respected businessman and diplomat, who served as Kenya's ambassador to France and the UK in the 1980s.

He was also a permanent secretary in the Foreign Ministry when Kenya is said to have assisted former Somali president Siad Barre when his government was overthrown in 1991.


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