Monday, January 08, 2007

Somali Islamists sue for peace

Defeated in detail and forced out of the country, Somalia's Islamist leadership is in hiding in Yemen, suing for peace.
Leaders of Somalia's defeated Islamic movement said yesterday that they were committed to peace talks which could cut the threat of an Iraq-style insurgency across the Horn of Africa.

Several senior figures from the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) slipped past both Ethiopian troops and US warships, and found refuge across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen.

And during talks yesterday in Aden, the Islamic delegation, which included the movement's influential foreign affairs chief Ibrahim Adow, said they were ready to talk peace.

"They have been evaluating their position since recent events in Somalia, and it is fair to say they are being pragmatic," said a senior Yemeni official. "They said they are committed to peace talks, which could be held by mid-January in either Khartoum or Nairobi."

Aside from Mr Adow, there are two other major players from the ICU in Yemen, but authorities in the capital, Sana'a, would not name them.

Yemen was accused of arming Somalia's transitional government, which with its Ethiopian allies has won back control of the country from the ICU. Now Yemen wants to act as a peace-broker between all the parties to the conflict.

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