Somali groups urged to join talks

President says government ready for reconciliation dialogue to end fighting.

    Ahmed heads a government which does not
    control much of the country [File: EPA] 

    'Empty words'

    But Hassan Mahdi Othman, leader of the opposition Somali Islamic party, said he considered Ahmed's reconciliation offer as empty words.

    "This is political talk, with no specific objective, such as to seriously hold a dialogue," Othman told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

    "Since he [Ahmed] came to power... he has been talking like that with no actions on the ground.

    "We have proposed a [reconciliation] initiative before he did, and we have said that before holding any dialogue, foreign troops must leave [Somalia], the so-called interim government must be replaced, an extended conference must be held, and we have set other conditions," he said.

    Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991 when the overthrow of the government at the time plunged the country into chaos.

    Sharif's UN-backed government is currently in place in Mogadishu, but it is struggling to restore order with anti-government fighters controlling large patches of the country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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