Rawlings Holds Talks With Sudan’s Al Bashir on Somalia

President Omar Al Bashir (r) and President Jerry Rawlings holding talks in Khartoum
Ghana’s former President and African Union High Representative for Somalia, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has called on Sudan to support the peace process in Somalia by providing counsel to the Somali leadership on how to best address their challenges.

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President Rawlings said unity of purpose was required in order to bring peace to Somalia.

The AU High Representative who was speaking during a call on Sudanese President, Omar Al Bashir in Khartoum on Tuesday, called for a candid engagement of Somali opposition groups in dialogue.

President Rawlings said he was consulting leaders of IGAD (Six-nation East African Inter-governmental Authority on Development) countries and all troop contributing countries to ensure that there was consensus on how to tackle the Somalia problem.

President Bashir on his part said Sudan has been preoccupied by the Somalia problem since its eruption twenty years ago and had played a positive role in trying to control the problem. He said he was pleased by President Rawlings’ visit and acknowledged that his role was a difficult one.

The Sudanese President expressed his support for the AU High Representative’s role and called for a concise plan towards addressing the Somalia crisis. He said Somalia needed a strong government, which can sustain peace and security.

He also disclosed that Sudan had supported Somalia, particularly in the area of education where there are some 600 Somali students in Sudanese universities and 3000 in general education.

General Arnold Quainoo and Mr. Herbert Mensah accompanied President Rawlings.

President Rawlings has already held talks with Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki, Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi and is due to hold discussions with Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni on Friday.