Kenya warns int'l community against ignoring lawless Somalia
NAIROBI (AFP) Dec 01, 2003
Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka on Monday warned the international community against ignoring lawlessness in Somalia, saying it posed a deadly threat to the stability of nearby countries.

"It is not proper to ignore a failed state like Somalia which poses a threat to regional peace and stability. You all know the illegal arms trade is flourishing and many of these weapons continue to find their way into the neighbouring countries," Musyoka said.

"Somalia is also a breeding ground for other vices and criminal activities including terrorism. Kenya has been twice hit by terrorist attacks," Musyoka told a conference on strengthening the seven-state Inter-governmental Authority on Developement (IGAD) in regional peace intiatives and post-conflict resolutions.

The minister was refering to 1998 bombing of US embassy in Nairobi, which killed 213 people, and last year's bombing of Israeli-owned Mombasa Paradise hotel, which claimed 18 lives. Both raids were attributed to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

Last month, a UN-commissioned report warned that Somalia provident a convenient springboard for groups such as al-Qaeda to attack neighbouring states such as Kenya.

"The world cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and watch. It is necessary that we intensify all efforts in seeking negotiated settlements for lasting peace on the IGAD platform," Musyoka told the delegates, who included envoys from the IGAD Partnership Forum (IPF) -- Norway, Italy, Britain and US -- as well UN and Africa Union (AU).

Around 450 Somali delegates are currently in the outskirts of the Kenyan capital to deliberate on efforts to restore a recognised government, which last collapsed in 1991 when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled, and the whole country plunged into unruly factional fiefdoms.

Kalonzo said the talks, mediated by IGAD, are yet to see "daylight."

On December 9, Somali leaders will meet in Mombasa for 10 days to try and advance the faltering peace process.