The first phase of the talks in Djibouti resulted in an agreement in early 2009 on the formation of a new transitional federal government. This included increasing Parliament from 275 to 550 members to include LRA parliamentarians and an expanded cabinet. He also called on the UN to send an international stabilization force from “countries other than neighbouring countries” and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia. The Djibouti process is itself the final step in the broader process of political settlement and peace-building in Somalia, which began in 1991, almost immediately after the outbreak of hostilities. It builds on the achievements of previous efforts. The challenge, as always, is to cement the benefits made and to draw others in constructive dialogue and to break out of a cycle of violence. Over the past 19 years, Somalis have held numerous peace and reconciliation conferences and concluded numerous peace agreements, some between a few people and others between larger political alliances. Hussein Aidid and representatives of 25 clans attended a peace conference in Cairo in December 1997. While the UN Security Council welcomed efforts to adopt a “federal system with regional autonomy and approval of the formation of a transitional government of national unity”, it left the country without a national leader, many non-participants were reluctant to achieve the results and none of the Somali groups accepted disarmament.
Hussein Aidid and Ali Mahdi were seen as opponents of the proposed settlements.   The next national peace conference was held in Arta, Djibouti, and marked a new phase of Somali reconciliation. The discussions, supported by neighbouring countries as a regional initiative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), took place over a five-month period and culminated in August 2000 with the Arta Declaration and the formation of the National Transitional Government (TNG) under the leadership of Abdulqasim Salad Hassan. Ilham Gassar is CEO of KIGS Consulting. She is currently a senior stability and conflict consultant with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).