Mogadishu — The first phase of Jubaland Reconciliation Conference has on Sunday kicked off at Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu with the Somali Federal Government Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and Jubaland Leader Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe) present, Garowe Online reports.
The opening ceremony of the five-day conference brought together, Federal Government of Somalia and Jubaland officials, international community members including the Foreign Ambassadors in Mogadishu, the United Nations Mission in Somalia officials, Islamic scholars, politicians, traditional elders and businesspeople representing the local communities of Jubaland's three regions, Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba and Gedo.
Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Shirdon expressed his hope about the outcome of the conference which he said would lead to political and social cohesion among Jubaland communities.
"It is an honor for me to officially open Jubaland Reconciliation Conference which follows Addis Ababa agreement. This conference is very important since Jubaland intellectuals are here to build a confidence for Jubba Interim Administration," said Shirdon.
The Prime Minister added that Somalia Federal Government will facilitate the formation of autonomous state in Jubaland after the two-year term of Madobe government expires.
Interior and National Security Minister and the Chairman of the conference organizers, Abdikarin Hussein Guled who also addressed the conference participants told that today's conference is a step forward for another conference that will be held in Kismayo to completely overcome the remaining differences.
On the other hand, in his opening remarks Jubaland President Madobe said that Jubaland representatives are required to be a united and work together in spirit of brotherhood.
"To reach that goal we must reveal courage and sincerity," stated Madobe. "Addis Ababa agreement had a unique importance; I would like to thank Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs Minister for his tireless efforts and hard work during the bilateral discussions to come to the solution".
Following IGAD-brokered bilateral talks in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa in August, Federal Government of Somalia and Jubaland administration agreed on 23 points of agreement which went through various processes.
Jubaland administration previously blasted Mogadishu-based Federal Government for erroneously setting a date for Jubaland reconciliation conference without consulting with all parties.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in the southern port city of Kismayo for firs visit since being elected as the leader in September 2012 last Thursday.