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Chronology of events leading to reconciliation talks

On 15 October 2002, the various sides in the Somali conflict are due to open reconciliation talks in the Kenyan town of Eldoret in a bid to establish an all-inclusive new interim administration that will govern the country until democratic elections can be held. The following is a chronology of recent events leading up to the reconciliation conference.

26 June 1960: The former British Somaliland Protectorate gains independence

1 July 1960: The former Italian colony becomes independent. The former British (northwest) and Italian (south) colonies unite and form the Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman elected as first president

1967: Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman in elections for president, leading to the first peaceful transfer of power in Africa.

15 October 1969: Democratically elected President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is assassinated by one of his bodyguards

21 October 1969: The army under Major-General Muhammad Siyad Barreh overthrows the civilian government, after parliament becomes deadlocked in trying to select a new president. The army suspends the constitution, bans all 86 political parties, and promises to end corruption. Siyad Barreh heads the 25-member Supreme Revolutionary Council, consisting of army and police officers

21 October 1970: The army junta declares Somalia a socialist country and adopts "scientific socialism". This signals a shift towards Soviet backing, and security organs and intelligence networks are given greater powers

21 October 1972: A written script for the Somali language is established. A modified Roman alphabet is adopted as the official orthography for the Somali language

1974: Somalia becomes a member of the Arab League

July 1977: A low-level war of attrition between Somali-backed insurgents and the Ethiopian army becomes an all-out battle between Somalia and Ethiopia, when Somalia declares war on Ethiopia. The war goes down in history as the fiercest Cold War battle on the continent, played out in the Ethiopian Ogaden region

13 November 1977: Somalia expels about 6,000 Russian, Cuban and other Soviet allies, after the Soviet Union switched sides and allied itself with Ethiopia

March 1978: The Somali government announces the withdrawal of its forces from the Ogaden

8 April 1978: After the defeat of the Somali army, a group of army officers tries to topple the Siyad Barreh regime. The attempted coup is crushed and Siyad Barreh tightens his grip further. He begins a process of putting power into the hands of his relatives, and sub-clan, the Darod Marehan. He also empowers the related Dulbahante and Ogadeni sub-clans

1978-81: One of the plotters of the 1978 attempted coup, Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, a Majeerteen, helps found the first armed opposition movement against the Siyad Barreh regime - the Somali Salvation Front (SSF). In 1981 the SSF becomes the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), with Yusuf as its leader

May 1988: The Somali National Movement (SNM) mounts an offensive in the north of the country, as a result of the regime's brutal post-Ethiopian war policies. Siyad Barreh responds by bombing the area. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are displaced, and many killed. It is the first real challenge to Siyad Barreh's rule, and the beginning of the proliferation of armed opposition to the regime

May 1990: A manifesto is published in Mogadishu calling for an all-inclusive national reconciliation convention to avert protracted civil war. It is signed by 144 prominent people, including politicians, religious leaders, professionals and business people, representing all Somali clans

December 1990: Armed uprising erupts in Mogadishu

27 January 1991: Siyad Barreh flees Mogadishu. Forces loyal to the Hawiye-based United Somali Congress (USC) capture the city

28 January 1991: The Manifesto Group of USC appoints an hotelier, Ali Mahdi Muhammad, as president. The military wing of USC, led by General Muhammad Farah Aydid, rejects the appointment

17 November 1991: Full-scale fighting starts between the two factions of the USC

3 March 1991: A ceasefire comes into effect between the warring factions in Mogadishu

1991: Fighting erupts in the northeast region between the Al-Ittihad Islamic fundamentalists and militia loyal to the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), lead by Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad

18 May 1991: The former British Protectorate of Somaliland declares independence from the rest of Somalia, in the town of Burao

July 1991: A conference is held in Djibouti, in which Ali Mahdi is chosen as interim president

April 1992: The United Nations Operation in Somalia, UNOSOM I, begins work in Somalia

December 1992: The US-led Unified Task Force [UNITAF] lands in Mogadishu

February 1993: A three month conference in Borama seeks a new leader for the self-declared state of Somaliland. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, a former prime minister, is elected in May

March 1993: The next serious attempt at peace talks. An Ethiopian initiative evolves into a joint UN-Ethiopian sponsored reconciliation conference held in Addis Ababa

4 May 1993: UNITAF hands over to UNOSOM II

5 June 1993: 23 Pakistani peacekeepers are killed by Aydid loyalists

12 July 1993: American helicopter gunships kill over 50 unarmed Somalis holding a meeting in a private house in Mogadishu, increasing local hostility to the international intervention forces

3 October 1993: American-led forces looking for Aydid's senior aides are involved in a shoot-out, which leaves 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis dead. The body of a dead American is dragged through the Mogadishu streets, and, caught on camera, sparks an international outcry

March 1994: A UN sponsored peace conference brings together all Somali factions in Nairobi, Kenya, resulting in the Nairobi declaration

August 1996: Aydid dies of gunshot wounds sustained in operations against his former lieutenant, Osman Ali Atto. His son, a former American marine, Husayn Muhammad Aydid, is chosen by the clan to replace his father

November 1996: Ethiopian government-sponsored reconciliation conference, in the town of Sodare, brings most of the factions together. But it is boycotted by Husayn Aydid

November 1997: All faction leaders meet in Cairo, but the talks collapse when the faction leaders fail to come up with an acceptable power-sharing agreement, leaving Somalia without a national leader and Mogadishu still divided and insecure

2 May, 2000: On the initiative of the Djibouti government, the Somali National Peace Conference brings together more than 2,000 participants in Arta, Djibouti. It is the first conference where the warlords do not have control of the conference agenda

26 August, 2000: A 245-strong Transitional National Assembly, based on clan representation, elects Abdiqasim Salad Hasan as the new president of Somalia

27 August, 2000: President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan is sworn in at a inauguration ceremony attended by the heads of governments of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, and the host country Djibouti, along with representatives from the UN, EU, Arab league, OAU, France, Italy, Kuwait, and Libya

2001 April: The Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council (SRRC), a grouping of southern factions opposed to the interim government, is formed in Ethiopia and announces its intention to form a rival national government within six months

2001 November-December: Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi of Kenya brings together the TNG and some members of the SRRC and other faction leaders who sign the Nakuru agreement

2001 November: The US freezes the funds of the main remittance bank, and the largest employer, al Barakaat, for suspected links with al-Qaeda

2002 April: The Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) in Baidoa announces the formation the autonomous "Southwest State of Somalia", making it the third such region in Somalia, after Somaliland in the northwest, and Puntland in the northeast

2002 May: Muhammad Ibrahim Egal, the president of self-declared republic of Somaliland dies in a South African hospital and is replaced by his vice-president, Dahir Riyale Kahin

2002 October: Reconciliation talks, sponsored by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), due to open on 15th in the Kenyan town of Eldoret. Originally scheduled for April 2002, they have been repeatedly postponed

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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