Somali government ready to negotiate with opposition

Somalia's government said on Wednesday it was ready to negotiate with any opposition groups to end a 15-month-old insurgency and called for international mediation.

Somali government ready to negotiate with opposition
Somalia's government said on Wednesday it was ready to negotiate with any opposition groups to end a 15-month-old insurgency and called for international mediation.

"The Somali government is ready to reconcile with any Somali citizen opposing it," it said in a statement.

"The government approves of any location for the negotiation to take place ... recommending that the international community led by the U.N.'s special representative for Somalia mediate the negotiations."

Somali opposition groups -- made up of former parliamentarians, Islamists and members of the foreign diaspora -- demand Ethiopian troops withdraw before talks.

But Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein said that would not happen.

"I have repeatedly made clear in the past that issues of Ethiopian forces in Somalia can be settled when the government and its opponents agree on something, but negotiations should take place first," he told reporters.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Mart 2008, 11:43
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