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Peace Talks

 

     On January 4, 1993, representatives of fourteen Somali factions met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to begin discussions on political resolution.  Secretary General Ghali opened the talks by saying that the aim of the first session was to make the Somali people feel like they were participating in their own national rehabilitation and that the multitude of soldiers and relief workers in their country were not a foreign army occupation (48).  This first session established the significant political organizations and leaders.
     A second meeting, beginning on March 15, 1993, lasted for three weeks.  Conference participants debated on whether reconstruction should begin on a regional, decentralized basis, or on a national one.  Aideed and his supporters favored the regional approach as it gave more power to clan groups, while Ali Madhi, whose interest was to protect the smaller clans, favored a national approach (49).
     An agreement was reached to form a Transitional National Council (TNC) for a two-year period.  The council would consist of 74 seats, representing each faction and each region of the country.  The national executive would be a rotating president.  The agreement also called for “complete, impartial, and transparent disarmament” within three months (50).
     The agreement spoke about Somalia in its entirety, with representatives in the regions proclaimed as the Somaliland Republic, even though leaders from the new country did not agree to it.  Nevertheless, the Addis Ababa agreements offered the best chance for political rehabilitation in Somalia since the state collapsed (51).
 Following the agreement, Somalia became the most peaceful it had been since the downfall of Siad Barre’s regime.  The prospect of peace gave the hope to many Somalis that stability would return to their country.  The clan-leaders wanted now to be regarded not as warlords, but as “freedom fighters” by the western media (52).
     The American troops stationed in Somalia then began to pull out.  Replacing them was a UN peacekee  ping force composed of troops from other nations, mainly Belgium and Morocco (53).
 
 

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