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Eritrean President: AU Mission in Somalia Doomed to FaiIure

Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki says that any African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission sent into Somalia is doomed to failure.

In an exclusive interview with the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network, President Afewerki says that Somalia has not seen the last of the Islamic Council of Courts.

Somali government troops - with support from Ethiopian forces - drove the Islamic militants out of the capital, Mogadishu, last month. The Islamics have taken refuge in southern Somalia.

But Mr. Afewerki says the Islamic Courts have not been defeated. But he says those who have intervened in Somalia have done so to pursue their own agendas and will soon find themselves in very serious circumstances. He says the African Union lacks the organizational capability to deploy effectively in Somalia.

Al-Jazeera reports that Eritrea has openly supported the Islamic Courts but President Afewerki denies supplying troops to aid their cause in Somalia.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have a 40-year history of bitter rivalry related to a border dispute. The two countries currently maintain a fragile truce.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.