Somali peace ‘no longer possible’
The president of the weak transitional government has ruled out further
peace talks with the Islamist militia controlling most of southern Somalia.
With fears of war rising, Abdullahi Yusuf accused the Union of Islamic Courts
(UIC) of close al-Qaeda links.
are no longer under the illusion that peace is possible with the UIC, »
he told reporters at his Baidoa base.
UIC denies links to al-Qaeda and vowed to attack Ethiopian troops if they
have not left Somalia by Tuesday.
Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said his movement would not target
the interim Somalia government – just Ethiopian troops.
country has been invaded by Ethiopia … we should have thrown them out a
long time ago. »
it has soldiers in Somalia, but admits to having hundreds of military trainers
in the country supporting the government.
Yusuf accused the UIC of being the ones to close the door to peace talks.
are the ones who are waging the war. I don’t see peace and I don’t think they
there was something to offer them I would, but I am sure they have no intention
for peace and therefore I have nothing to offer them. »
US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer said radical forces had sidelined
more moderate forces in the UIC, who were receiving funding from Eritrea,
Yemen, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
against a military solution and said the way ahead should be through talks
between the two sides.
UIC spokesman said the US was trying to derail the stability it had brought
to much of Somalia this year.
on Friday, Islamic leaders Mogadishu distributed sermons about holy war to
be read at the city’s mosques during prayers.
talks were scheduled to take place next week in Khartoum, but now look unlikely.
has taken control of much of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu,
government only controls the territory around the town of Baidoa.
the UN Security Council approved plans to send peacekeepers to protect the
government in Baidoa and amend an arms embargo, despite strong opposition
from the UIC.
say, however, that a military build-up on both sides makes it less likely
that any peacekeepers will be deployed.
said this week that they have been sending troops to Tiyeglow, on the main
road from the Ethiopia border to Baidoa, following clashes south-west of Baidoa.
from BBC NEWS