Monday, March 17, 2003

Somaliland reiterates it will not join peace talks
NAIROBI,17 MARCH 2003 (IRIN)-- The authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have reiterated they will not take part in the ongoing Somali reconciliation talks in Kenya.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the region's information minister, Abdullahi Duale, Somaliland was not a party to the Somali conflict.

"There are no Somaliland military forces operating on Somali territory," the statement said, adding that Somaliland had "refrained from interfering in Somalia's internal affairs despite numerous provocations".

The minister was reacting to media reports that the Kenyan chairman of the talks, Bethwel Kiplagat, was awaiting an invitation to Somaliland to discuss the peace process. Some Somali leaders attending the peace talks in Kenya have, in the past, proposed that extra delegates be allocated to represent Somaliland and have repeatedly called for the region to be brought into the process.

Duale's statement said that the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the talks, was aware of Somaliland's stand on the issue

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