Somali Islamist leader promise to oust Ethiopians

Published on Thursday 22nd May 2008

Somalia: A senior Somali opposition leader has vowed to force Ethiopian troops out of his country, warning that UN-sponsored peace talks will fail.


"We are going to liberate Somalia from Ethiopia," Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said in an interview published on Thursday in the British newspaper The Guardian.

He further condemned the UN-sponsored peace talks that opened last week in Djibouti, saying the negotiations were doomed to fail unless Ethiopia first withdrew all its forces.

"The UN is not impartial. We don't want to pursue this [peace] process. Our plan is to continue the struggle. It is important to expel the enemy from all areas," added Aweys.

Somali government troops, backed by Ethiopians, ended opposition Islamic Courts Union (ICU) rule in the capital and southern Somalia in late 2006.

ICU commanders and allied groups are boycotting the talks as they did in 2007, insisting that Ethiopian troops should leave before real negotiations begin.

In an interview from Eritrea, the rebels said that their delegation participating in the talks went there without consent.