2001, as newly appointed head of the Italian Diplomatic Delegation for
lengthy and complicated peace progress, which lasted well into the year 2004,
was fatally marred, in my view, by some hasty decisions taken at its very
conclusion. These took little account of the lengthy and patient negotiations which had preceded them and possibly were dictated by funding problems, as well as strong pressure
by the Ethiopian Government, eager to reach a conclusion seen as favourable to Ethiopian interests.
The end result, therefore, appeared to
me, already then, as fundamentally flawed, and unlikely to bring more than a
temporary respite to the political turmoil in
Even so, it is disheartening to realise that all those months of careful, finely-balanced talks, with their dramatic and at times highly emotional interludes, would end up with the current situation, in which, eight years on, little significant political progress is visible.
Most commentators, quite commendably, are
attempting to put a brave, optimistic
face on this latest act in the Somali
drama, but grounds for optimism appear scant and weak, and it is difficult to
see what this new "Transitional Federal Government" will be
able to achieve, outside of the areas
it can control. It is certainly worth considering the
eloquent fact that the election of the new President, by a carefully
balanced Parliament takes place in the
Nairobi Conference began,
unexpected, death of Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi will certainly
further complicate the situation. The negative developments within
It is not
without a strong feeling of regret that
one feels compelled to view potential
future developments in
The basic questions that need to be considered both by the more responsible Somalis and by those foreigners who have the country's welfare at heart, concerns the realistic possibility of actually finding a solution in Somalia along the lines proposed up to now. The examples of neighbouring Somaliland and of the very autonomous state of Puntland, appear to indicate that, perhaps, greater consideration should be given to the fact that "self government" in Somalia seems to work best in more reduced geographic areas, where the predominance of one clan can ensure acceptance of a leader who can then, on a footing of parity, establish working relationships with other leaders in what is, perhaps mistakenly, considered a necessarily unified geo-political entity, or a potential "Nation State".
The vast majority of Somalis, whether in their own land of abroad, show a deep love and loyalty to their country, and this is an element that has to be kept into account: Somalia is, perhaps rightly, seen as the quintessential example of a "Failed State", but its people deserve better, and fresh, unprejudiced thought needs to be dedicated to the problem..