Somali parliament delays troop vote

Somalia's transitional parliament has postponed voting on the government's request of deploying international peacekeepers in the country.

    The parliament postponed the voting after talks failure

    The delay on Monday came after the collapse of overnight talks between the government and the Islamic courts over the issue.

    Abdirahman Mohamed Nur Dinari, the government spokesman, said that Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Joint Islamic Courts leader, rejected the deployment of foreign forces in the country and pulled out of talks with two federal ministers late on Sunday.

    "The talks collapsed after Ahmed said he was unhappy with plans to discuss the deployment of peacekeepers," Dinari told AFP from  Baidoa, the seat of the transitional government, about 250km northwest of Jowhar.

    No discussion

    Ahmed said the Islamic courts would not hold any discussions with the government if the 275-member clan-based assembly approves the deployment of troops from the seven-nation east African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
    "We are not going to have any kind of negotiations with the  transitional federal government ... if they approve the deployment of foreign troops,"  he told reporters late on Sunday.

    Islamic militiamen have pledged
    to fight off the peacekeepers

    "The  government is not sincere about negotiating with the Islamic courts if it is calling for foreign troops."

    Ahmed had pledged to fight off the peacekeepers if they arrived in Mogadishu, forcing Uganda and Sudan to freeze plans to send an advance team to help the president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, get a foothold in the country.

    The governnment had deployed two ministers to represent it in the talks with the courts group, which last week seized large parts of the capital, Mogadishu, from a regional commanders alliance reportedly backed by the US.
    Somalia's Islamic clerics organised raids against the United Nations and US missions in the country between 1993 and 1995.
    Western intelligence groups have accused the Islamic courts of having links with extremist groups, including al-Qaeda, but the clerics have denied the claims.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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