Somali Peace Talks Fail
Any hope of averting the now-imminent war in Somalia has been quelled by news that the Khartoum peace talks between the Islamic Courts Union and the Transitional Federal Government have been indefinitely postponed. The BBC reports:
The talks have been placed on indefinite hold after the two sides refused to meet face-to-face, a statement said.
The mediators called for restraint and said further consultations were needed to move the dialogue forward.
Observers now fear a conflict which could engulf the entire region.
The foreign minister of Somalia's transitional government, Ismael Mohamoud Hurreh, told the BBC that there was a danger of all-out conflict in the Horn of Africa.
Mr Hurreh said his government hoped to avoid war but warned that conflict would become inevitable if Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) continued on their current path.
The minister said countries in the region were deeply concearned about the UIC's declaration of jihad on their neighbours...Before arriving in Khartoum, the Islamist delegation said they would not take part in the talks unless Ethiopian troops left Somalia.
Although recent maneuvers taken by both sides in Somalia have all pointed to an eventual clash between the ICU and the TFG, the Khartoum peace talks had previously served as a potential diplomatic solution to the conflict. Prior to this third round of talks, the ICU and TFG had in fact drawn up and implemented a cease-fire. However, that cease-fire was never really followed, rendering the first two rounds of talks null. Now that the third round of talks have been postponed indefintely, there isn't much more to keep the ICU and TFG from engaging in an "all-out" war.