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Somali opposition leader will not talk to president

awees1MOGADISHU, May 3 (Reuters) – Somalia’s hard-line opposition leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said on Sunday he would not meet the Horn of Africa nation’s president, and vowed to continue fighting the government.

President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed had said he would welcome negotiations with Aweys, his former partner in the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which ruled the capital and most of southern Somalia until Ethiopian troops ousted them in 2007.

But Aweys rebuffed the overture and said Sharif was more interested in pleasing the international community than in working for the Somali people.

“I call upon various Islamist groups to fight our common enemy,” he told reporters.

Analysts say Aweys, who is on the U.S. terrorism list for alleged links to al Qaeda, is an influential figure for many of the insurgents fighting Sharif’s government.

On Thursday, Somalia’s foreign minister said Aweys, who returned to his homeland last week for the first time in two years, had an important role to play in restoring security to the nation 1991 as a mediator with the insurgents.

Aweys also condemned the killing of Islamist officials in Mogadishu and other parts of the country. “We are very disappointed with the assassinations of the intellectuals and those who are fighting to liberate Somalia,” he said.

Separately, Somalia’s security minister on Sunday accused Eritrea of supplying arms to insurgents to fight the government. “Eritrea is actively meddling in Somalia by importing weapons,” Omar Hashi Aden told reporters.

Eritrea has denied sending arms or material support to Somalia in the past.

“We ask the world community to do something about Eritrea’s direct interference,” he said.

He said two flights from Eritrea had landed at a former military airport 110km (68.3 miles) southwest of the capital now under the control of the al Shabaab insurgents, who are on Washington list of terrorism groups. (Reporting by Ibrahim Mohamed, Abdi Sheikh and Abdi Guled, Writing by Wangui Kanina)



Category : Latest Somali News.
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