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Arab League calls for dialogue to halt fighting in Somalia


The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) called Sunday on the warring factions in Somalia to halt fighting and return to dialogue.

AL Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Ahmed bin Hilli made the call in an interview with Dubai-based al-Arabiya news channel.

Hilli told the TV channel that fighting between the conflicting sides in Somalia could affect peace talks scheduled to be resumed in mid-January in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

He noted that the Arab League, the African regional organization Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the European Union were preparing a third round of peace talks for the Somali warring sides, the interim government and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

The agenda of the talks include the security file, the return of the government to the capital Mogadishu and merging the UIC into the ruling authority, he added.

Clashes resumed between Somalia's interim government and the UIC on Thursday despite of a truce secured by an EU envoy late Wednesday.

Somalia, a country in the Horn of Africa, has been without a functioning central authority since the 1991 ouster of former ruler Mohamed Siad Barre.

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