Barre Adan Shire (Hiiraale) is chairman of the Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) which controls the southern port city of Kismayo and much of the Juba Valley. He is attending the Somali reconciliation conference in Eldoret, Kenya. Here he tells IRIN of his expectations regarding the talks and the situation in Kismayo.
QUESTION: What do you hope will come out of these talks?
ANSWER: I don't know what the outcome will be, only God knows that, but we hope and wish that the outcome will be in the interest of the people of Somalia.
Q: Is there anything in particular that you would like to see come out of these talks?
A: Yes. At the end of the conference I would like to see a united Somalia, and the return of the Somali nation.
Q: What is the current situation in Kismayo?
A: There is nothing happening in Kismayo. It is peaceful and its people have reconciled, and agreed to live in peace together. There are no problems.
Q: At the conference we understand that some factions have charged that the JVA occupies areas and land which belong to other communities, and that if the conference is to succeed the JVA must leave these areas. How do you respond to these charges?
A: This is a mistaken notion, and I don't believe that a Somali would make such charges. Somalis are Somalis and this country belongs to all of us. Each one of us can settle wherever he wants, he can farm or build a house. A Somali has every right to settle where he wants to and there are no occupiers and occupied.
Q: Has the JVA set up a functioning administration in Kismayo?
A: Yes we have a functioning administration. The JVA is the highest body, but we also have set up district and local administrations. The police, the prison services and the courts are functioning. The port and airport are also functioning.
Q: Colonel Shatigadud's faction of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) has accused the JVA of supporting the other faction [Adan Madobe-Habsade] in the capture of Baidoa. How do respond to this?
A: That is a baseless accusation. We have no preference between Shatigadud and his rivals. They are all Somalis, and there is no reason why we should support one against the other. It a lie, pure and simple.