The role of track one diplomacy in conflict resolution: a case study of the Somali civil war, 1991 - 2000
Kanko, Cynthia F
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The main thrust of this study is to analyze the role played by official diplomacy resolution in the Somali conflict that has been raging for over a decade. To accomplish its objective, the study mainly relies on secondary data and examines the efforts made by the United Nations, United States of America, Organization of African Unity, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the European Commission and some individuals in resolving the Somali civil war. The study demonstrates that all these efforts by the different parties did contribute, at one stage or another, in bringing the various Somali factions to the negotiating table, and prevented the further deterioration of the mayhem in that country, although for a short period of time. However, the restoration of lasting peace proved elusive and to date, the country remains embroiled in internecine conflict, forcing some of the peace-makers to abandon their mission in the face of the local opposition. These examples of third party intervention in internal conflicts show that new mechanisms will have to be devised in tackling internal strife, as peacekeeping could not help to end this conflict which was made worse by the absence of a legitimate government. The study also concludes that African states and African regional and sub regional organizations need to find new ways to manage internal conflicts or reinforce their present capacity to do so, particularly where conflicts occur in failed states. This becomes more imperative as it would be too presumptuous to expect that the United Nations and the international community should effectively manage all conflicts on the African continent. The overall lesson is that Africans must find indigenous solutions to African problems. The study also shows that the defunct OAU was limited as far as the intervention in internal conflicts of member states is concerned because of a provision in its Charter. And it recommends that the AU be more efficient and present in dealing with internal conflicts as provided in Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the Union. The study recommends that a clear distinction be made between all forms of third party intervention. It further suggests that new mechanisms for managing conflicts that occur in a "failed state" are to be found. The study also recommends that the UN exercise some flexibility in the interpretation of the concept of "failed state". In a situation whereby a sovereign state loses one or two of the attributes of statehood, the UN should have a mechanism through which it should work for the restoration of the lost attributes.