Publication time: 8 November 2007
A top Somalian leader on Thursday vowed to fight until the withdrawal of all Ethiopian occupation troops, ruling out peace talks with the transitional government.
"It is our belief that every individual in Somalia has to participate in the resistance and the defeat of the Ethiopian occupation," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said in the Eritrean capital.
"The more time goes by, the more Ethiopia will be resisted by the people, and they will be disliked by the international community because they are not carrying out what they said they will do," he said.
"They will become more isolated and have more failure in Somalia," he said.
Sheikh Sharif is chairman of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), an Islamic coalition formed in September.
He was a top leader of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which controlled large parts of Somalia before being ousted by temporary government forces and Ethiopian troops earlier this year.
The armed branch of the ICU and their tribal allies have since waged a guerrilla-style war in Mogadishu, targeting Somali and Ethiopian troops.
The violence that erupted since the temporary government forces took control of the country has crippled Somalia's ailing economy, left hundreds dead and forced tens of thousands to flee Mogadishu, fueling popular resentment against the Ethiopian presence.
Sheikh Sharif ruled out talks with either Ethiopia or Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.
"As long as the Ethiopian action in Somalia is to kill Somalis and make more atrocities, then there is nothing to talk about with Ethiopia," he said.
"As far as the Abdullahi Yusuf clique is concerned, they have no authority they are only a puppet of the Ethiopians, and as long as that situation prevails there is no question of negotiation with them."
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