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Somali MPs Want Ethiopian Troops out
by IOL (reposted)
Tuesday Jul 25th, 2006 6:42 AM
MOGADISHU — A cohort of Somalia lawmakers on Monday, July24 , pressed for the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from their Horn of African country as thousands of Somalis protested military intervention by their powerful arch-foe neighbor.
"Ethiopian troops should get out of Somalia as soon as possible and should cease from the constant aggression against Somalia," sixteen legislators said in a statement cited by Reuters.

"This move is a clear interference against the freedom and sovereignty of Somalia," they insisted.

More than 100 Ethiopian military trucks carrying troops and supplies were reported by residents in Baidoa, about250 kilometers ( 155miles) northwest of Mogadishu.

Addis Ababa dismissed the claims as propaganda, but said it would crush the Islamic Courts should they attempt to attack the largely powerless government of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

Nominally Christian-led Ethiopia, which backs Yusuf's secular-based government, has invaded neighboring Somalia in the past.

Home to about 10 million largely impoverished people, Somalia has lacked almost all the trappings of a functional state, such as national systems of education, healthcare and justice, for the past 15 years.


The Somali MPs stressed that the intervention of Ethiopian troops runs in the face of the national security plan laid down by the parliament," the Somali MPs said.

"Therefore the Ethiopian troops have to be withdrawn from Somalia immediately and stop the violation against the territory of Somalia.

"They are in our territory illegally and this is undermining our efforts to bring the people of Somalia together under a national federal government," they averred.

The interim government and the Islamic Courts have agreed to recognize each other under a deal brokered by the Arab League.

But the Courts withdrew Saturday, July22 , from talks with the interim government in protest at Ethiopian intervention.

Tensions have risen between the two sides since the Islamic Courts defeated the US-led warlord Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) and seized full control of the capital Mogadishu on June.

Warlords had controlled the capital since the1991 overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre.


At least3 , 000Somalis also gathered in northern Mogadishu's stadium Monday to protest Ethiopia's military intervention, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Burning the Ethiopian flag, the angry protestors vowed to fight the invading troops to the last man to defend their homeland.

"Down with the Addis Ababa regime", "Somalis have to prepare themselves for the occupation of Somalia", "We are ready for jihad against Ethiopia", read some of placards carried by the protestors.

Islamic Courts leaders said they were keen to avoid bloodshed, warning that they would have to fight if the international community failed to force an Ethiopian pullout.

"The former armed forces of Somalia, Islamic volunteers and Islamic courts troops are ready to engage face to face with Ethiopian troops, but they are waiting for our instructions," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the head of the executive committee of the Islamic Courts, told the rally.

"We are talking to the international community to avoid serious bloodshed and we are urging the Ethiopians to withdraw from Somalia. Patience has its own limitations."
by ALJ
Tuesday Jul 25th, 2006 6:44 AM
Somalia's interim government has agreed to new talks with Islamists in the country, reviving some hope of a negotiated end to the struggle in the country.

Abdirizak Adam, the chief of staff of the interim president Abdullahi Yusuf, made the announcement on Tuesday.

"We will go to Khartoum without any preconditions," Adam said.

He was speaking after Francois Lonseny Fall, the UN special envoy, met Yusuf in his base in the provincial town of Baidoa and asked the government to attend talks in the Sudanese capital on August 1 and 2.

It was not immediately known if the Islamists would also agree to attend.


Talks to prevent a standoff between the two sides from escalating into war broke down on July 22, when the Islamists pulled out because of a reported incursion into Somalia by Ethiopian troops to defend the fragile interim government.

Fall's visit came a day after the African Union (AU) urged the UN Security Council to speed up plans to ease an arms embargo on Somalia to allow foreign peacekeepers to deploy.


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