[dehai-news] (AFP): Talks fail on new Somali cabinet: Ethiopia

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Nov 15 2008 - 18:21:01 EST

Talks fail on new Somali cabinet: Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) - Talks on forming a new government in Somalia in a bid to end nearly two decades of bloodletting have failed, Ethiopia's foreign ministry announced on Saturday.

Somalia's President Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein "still fail to agree over a cabinet," the ministry said in a communique.

At a summit last month in the Kenyan capital Nairobi the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which Ethiopia currently chairs, set a deadline of November 12 for the feuding sides to agree on a new transitional government.

The Somali president and prime minister arrived in Addis Ababa on Thursday for a 24-hour working visit to discuss how to implement the Nairobi declaration with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin.

"The talks centred specifically on the formation of the cabinet," the ministry communique said.

"According to the timelines agreed at Nairobi, these should have been finalised on Wednesday this week. However no agreement has yet been reached on the membership of the cabinet," it said.

It noted that the prime minister had presented a list to President Yusuf in London last week but he found the names "unacceptable".

It warned that under the Nairobi declaration, "if any of the parties defaulted on the timelines for any of the agreed decisions," IGAD would have to call a new summit.

Ethiopian troops entered Somalia in late 2006 and helped oust Islamist militants who had taken control of much of the country.

Since then, the insurgents have waged a guerilla war, saying they would only meet the government for peace talks after Ethiopian troops pull out of the country.

Somalia has lacked an effective government since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre touched off a bloody power struggle that has defied numerous attempts to restore stability.

Founded in 1986, IGAD has six active members: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

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