Somali leaders signed a landmark peace agreement in at the conclusion of a national reconciliation conference in Jeddah yesterday.
Participants at the national reconciliation conference included Somali President Abdullah Yosef Ahmed, Speaker of Parliament Adam Mohammed Nour, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi, Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee Ali Mahdi Mohammed, tribal sheikhs, and other representatives of the various factions. Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz also attended the talks.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz attended the signing ceremony. In remarks, the King welcomed the agreement to end the infighting in Somalia and highlighted Saudi efforts to bring about a reconciliation.
“We have felt your suffering and exerted, individually and with friends, every effort to reach a solution. In this blessed month, we reached an agreement that draws the curtain on a bloody painful page and opens the way for a bright future,” he said.
King Abdullah also urged the Somali factions to follow through on the agreement. “Reaching an agreement is the first step and must be followed by a full commitment to its provisions as well as a hard work to put it into practice,” the King said. “I am optimistic that you can make the agreement a dawn of a new era of security and prosperity for Somalia's people. I am also optimistic that the agreement will promote peace between Somalia and its neighbors.”
In his remarks, Somali President Abdullah Yosef Ahmed thanked Saudi Arabia for its support. The president called for the deployment of joint Arab-African forces under UN command to keep the peace in Somalia and urged all Somalis to back such a force.