Negotiating a Blueprint for Peace in Somalia
The peace process in Somalia is at a critical point. Talks that began with great promise are in danger of collapsing unless the mediators, the international community and the Somali factions themselves provide stronger leadership. The Somali public's flagging interest and support for the process needs to be revived, and improvements are required in the negotiating process or the parties will be unable to tackle the many difficult outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the international community has remained reluctant to throw its full weight behind the peace talks, to take a tough line with those who are undermining it or generally to express a unified position on preferred outcomes. This in turn has exacerbated the many deep divisions within both the warring Somali factions and Somali civil society. Without new energy and focus, the peace talks will likely fissure along all-too-predictable lines ? federalism, the role of clans, and land and property issues, and how to tackle the problem of breakaway Somaliland, all of which would ensure that the country would remain without a meaningful central government.