Attempts at reconciliation in Somalia (1991–2004)

Attempts at reconciliation in Somalia (1991–2004)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Attempts at Reconciliation in Somalia (1991–2004)

date= 1991–2004
result=Formation of the Transitional Federal Government
Campaignbox Horn of Africa

The downfall of Siad Barre's government did not bring peace to the nation. The years of the 1990s through the turn of the millennium were rife with conflict between clans, militias, warlords, separatist and rebellion movements, and the forces of intercessionist nations, including a series of UN missions for intervention in Somalia.

Reconciliation and Disarmament Efforts

Many efforts for peacemaking and peacekeeping were attempted, but all were destined for failure until most all parties had agreed to the formation of a new Transitional Federal Government, which finally occurred in 2004.

1992-1995 UN Missions to Somalia

In late 1992, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali proposed an expansion of the UN humanitarian mission to Somalia to include nation building activities, including the disarming of the warring militias of the country. However, in a Time Magazine article from December 28, 2002, US Special Envoy Robert B. Oakley, said three things were important to a Somali man: "his camel, his wife and his weapon. The right to bear arms is in their soul." [,9171,977374,00.html The Dilemma of Disarmament] Time Magazine]

As Oakley astutely observed, the UN missions to Somalia would not result in the disarmament of the many factions of the Somali Civil War. Too many warlords, as well as too many common Somalis, wished to keep their weapons, and to keep their feuds alive. In 1995, the last of the UN peacekeepers were pulled out of Somalia.

UN Security Council intervention in Somalia's Civil War went back to Resolution 733, an arms control provision which established a weapons embargo on the country.

The list of UN missions to Somalia, and their US operations names, are as follows:

UN MissionUS OperationStart DateEnd DateUNSC Resolution
UNOSOM I [ [ Somalia - UNOSOM I] UN] Operation Provide ReliefApril 1992March 1993751
UNITAFOperation Restore HopeDecember 1992May 4, 1993794
UNOSOM II [ [ Somalia - UNOSOM II] UN] Operation Continue HopeMarch, 1993March 1995814

1993 Conference on National Reconciliation

In early 1993, concurrent with the UNOSOM I humanitarian mission, fifteen of the warring parties of the Somali Civil War signed two agreements for national reconciliation and disarmament: an agreement to hold an Informal Preparatory Meeting on National Reconciliation, followed by the 1993 Addis Ababa Agreement made at the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia. Fighting continued, and the agreement later fell apart.

1997 National Salvation Council

Organized by IGAD, and held in Sodere, Ethiopia, but boycotted by Hussein Aidid's faction as well as the newly-declared government of Somaliland. A similar conference in Sana'a, Yemen, did not include all the parties of the conflict, and was rejected by those not attending. [ Somalia: From Permanent Conflict to More Peacefulness?] Searching for Peace in Africa, Jos van Beurden] [ AI Report 1998: Somalia] Amnesty International]

1997 Cairo Peace Conference / Cairo Declaration

Hussein Aidid and representatives from 25 clans attended a peace conference in Cairo, in December 1997. While the UN Security Council lauded the efforts, which included decisions to adopt "a federal system with regional autonomy and agreement to form a transitional government of national unity," it still left the country without a national leader, many of the non-attendees balking at the results, and none of the Somali factions agreeing to disarm. Hussein Aidid and Ali Mahdi were considered opposed to the proposed settlements. [ Somalia: From Permanent Conflict to More Peacefulness?] Searching for Peace in Africa, Jos van Beurden] [ Security Council Welcomes Results of Somali Leaders' Meeting in Cairo] UN Security Council] [ Somalia/Ethiopia] CountryWatch]

1998 Baidoa Conference

The conference was postponed indefinitely and then cancelled after continuous fighting in the city throughout the early part of the year made it impossible to ensure security. Cholera had also broken out in Baidoa around that time. By June, Osman Hassan Ali "Ato" declared the Cairo peace process "dead." [ Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, January 1998] UNDP] [ Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, February 1998] UNDP] [ Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, March 1998] UNDP] [ Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, April-May 1998] UNDP] [ Horn of Africa, Monthly Review, May-June 1998] UNDP]

2000 Somalia National Peace Conference

Officially dubbed the Somalia National Peace Conference (SNPC), and sometimes called the Djibouti conference, this was a series of meetings held in Arta, Djibouti, on April 20 - May 5, 2000. The conference was aimed at bringing together representatives of the warring factions of Somalia to end the civil war that had claimed over 300,000 lives. [ Somalia National Peace Conference] Program, hosted at] The name Transitional National Government (TNG) was selected for the movement at this time.

Annex II of the program for the Conference dealt with cease-fire, disarmament and security. It emphasized:

The desire of the Somali people for peace and security through disarmament is unambiguous. This call is heard repeated throughout the country from all segments of the Somali society, who have consistently demand (sic) an end to violence. Unless this is realized, the entire process of reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction would be jeopardized, if not stillborn. One of the first responsibilities of Somalia's new transitional government will be to insist on an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire, together with binding, complete and simultaneous disarmament of al (sic) militias throughout the country consistent with the agreements they signed from 1991 to 1997, but never implemented.

It took another six years before the transitional government was in a position to implement such a cease-fire and disarmament.

2001 National Commission for Reconciliation and Property Settlement

In May 6, 2001, an effort to create a 25-member working body, dubbed the National Commission for Reconciliation and Property Settlement (NCRPS), was damaged when Abdirizak Haji Hussein, former Prime Minister, was named as its head. The Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) and Puntland leadership objected strongly. Hussein later resigned on July 25, 2001.

2002 Somali Reconcilliation Conference

Held in Eldoret, Kenya, this conference was attended by most TFG supporters. However, at the time, the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) was still hotly contending with other factions, including warlord Adan Madobe-Habsade, who captured Baidoa. The RRA accused the Juba Valley Alliance of assisting the warlord, an accusation denied by the JVA leader Barre Adan Shire Hiiraale. [ SOMALIA: Interview with Barre Adan Shire, chairman of the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA)] IRIN]

2004 Nairobi Conference

In January, 2004 a productive conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, at which the Transitional Federal Government was agreed to. A document was signed by the major factions, entitled, "Declaration on the Harmonization of Various Issues Proposed by the Somali Delegates at the Somali Consultative Meetings from 9-29 January 2004". From this, the Transitional Federal Institutions were agreed to, including elections. However, none of the parties yet had disarmed. [ UN in Somalia] United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS)]

2004 Presidential Elections

On 10 October [2004] , the President of "Puntland", Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, was elected President of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with 189 votes. The runner up, Mr. Abdullahi Ahmed Addow received 79 votes. Before voting, the 25 Presidential candidates swore on the Koran and signed a declaration, pledging to support the elected president and demobilize their militia. [ UN in Somalia] United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS)]

The avowed demobilizations never occurred.


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