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Somalia’s FM says force is the only language Islamists understand


Jan 16, 2007 (NAIROBI) — Somali Foreign Minister Ismail Hurra Buba has defended the Ethiopian military presence in his country saying that force was the "only language" Islamists understood.

Speaking during an interview with the Kenyan KTN on 15 January, Hurra Buba claimed that the Islamic courts had been using peace talks with the Somali government as a delaying tactic in their quest for territorial expansion. He added that Horn of Africa countries were keen to see an end to the crisis in Somalia.

The following is an excerpt of Hurre’s interview during talks on the "Eye on Somalia" programme broadcast live by Kenyan KTN TV on 15 January distributed by the BBC MS.

- if you can just give us a sense of why Somalia is a centre of international and local intervention at this point in time.

Ismail: Well as I am sure you know media, international media, is covering, there has been you know since June last year, a new phenomena added to the political scene of Somalia which was the coming of the Union of Islamic Courts, (UIC) into the scene backed by Al-Qaida and other self-styled jihadist elements from all over the world and, we have as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) you know, tried to carry out some sort of dialogue with them - there has been Khartoum peace talks I and Khartoum II in which we have signed agreements with them but we discovered, you know, prior to the holding of Khartoum II that the UIC was using the peace negotiation just as a tactic to buy more time, to occupy more lands and actually go through, you know, apply an agenda they had which was to take over Somalia, get rid of the TFG and go beyond Somalia into some of the neighbouring countries. Their pronouncements in these things have been very well covered by the international media and I do not have to repeat it.

But when it became very clear to us that the only language that the UIC understood was, you know, military means, then we started preparing and I think we knew all along that the expansion that the UIC were doing was actually, was haphazardly carried out, was no real strategic plan, they did not have any military strength to speak about, but that is what they projected and that is what the international media and, particularly the Mogadishu media, portrayed them as very powerful and very strong.

We knew that they did not have that strength and, as you know when push came to shove, they started you know thinking that they would occupy Baidoa, the seat of the governmen and definitely at that juncture, we did appeal to the Ethiopian government to help us in terms of you know warding off this assault on the seat of government, and the Ethiopian government, you know, came in and as we have known, it did not take that long to get rid of the Islamists, you know, and the story is now I think well known.


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