Home | News    Monday 8 January 2007

Somali president says no negotiation with Islamists

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Jan 8, 2007 (DUBAI) — Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf said on Monday there would be no negotiations with Islamists who ruled the capital Mogadishu and large parts of southern Somalia before they were ousted late last month.

"With regard to holding talks with the courts (Islamists), this will not happen," he told Al Jazeera television in an interview before he flew to the Somali capital for the first time since he became president in 2004.

Yusuf’s entry into Mogadishu on Monday capped a remarkable turn-around in the capital after Islamists were routed by advancing Ethiopian and government troops on Dec. 28.

Some Islamists have vowed to fight on. But others meeting in Yemen have offered the prospect of talks to ease the country’s latest crisis and Washington’s top envoy to Africa has promoted dialogue as a way to secure a lasting peace.

But Yusuf seemed to rule out this possibility.

"We will crack down on the terrorists in any place around the nation," he added in remarks dubbed into Arabic.

African and Western diplomats are working on a plan to send African peacekeepers into Somalia to fill a security vacuum when Ethiopian forces who helped drive out the Islamists leave.

"We are waiting now to replace the Ethiopian troops with international forces," he said, adding he had no objections for both Arab and African troops to join.

(Reuters)

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