Home | News    Thursday 6 January 2005

East African leaders to hold summit on Sudan, Somalia on Saturday

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NAIROBI, Jan 6 (AFP) — East African leaders will on Saturday hold a summit in Nairobi to discuss post-conflict reconstruction of Sudan and Somalia, a day ahead of the signing of a final peace deal between Khartoum and southern rebels, the Kenyan foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The summit in State House, Nairobi, will be attended by presidents from regional seven-nation Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the two conflicts, a Kenyan foreign ministry official told AFP.

"They will be discussing about post-conflict reconstruction in Sudan and Somalia," the official said.

On Friday, foreign ministers from IGAD, comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, will hold a ministrial meeting in Nairobi, ahead of the summit.

On Sunday, Sudan’s President Omar el-Beshir and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) leader John Garang will sign a final peace agreement to end 21 years of war in the oil-rich southern Sudan.

Several world leaders, including outgoing US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN special envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, are expected in Nairobi, to witness the signing of the deal.

The Sudan agreement deal does not cover another 22-month conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where 70,000 people have died and more than 1.6 million others have been displaced from their villages.

The Darfur rebels and Khartoum government signed a ceasefire in April 2004, but it has often been violated by both sides.

Late last year, Somalis installed a presidency and parliament, after two years of talks, but the institutions are currently based in Nairobi, due to insecurity in Mogadishu. Somalia has been racked by anarchy for the past 14 years.

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