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Ethiopian Government Denies Reports of Troops in Somalia

The Ethiopian government says it has not sent troops across its border with Somalia. Over the weekend the Islamic alliance that took control of several parts of Somalia accused Ethiopia of launching a military incursion into the country in support of the powerless Somali transitional government.

Bereket Simon is advisor to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He tells English to Africa reporter James Butty Ethiopia is concerned about the Islamic Alliance in Somalia exporting its fundamentalist revolution.

“As you know, the Somali situation has been always complicated. Recently, the warlords and the Islamic fundamentalists fought and at last the fundamentalists won the war, and they have started pushing in every direction. So it’s the fundamentalists who becoming bold with every passing day, and they are marching forward to the north to the Ethiopian border.”

Bereket says Ethiopia is concerned about the upsurge of fundamentalism in Somalia. He says like the African Union, Ethiopia also supports the federal transitional government in Somalia.

“As you know the transitional federal government was formed after several negotiations that took place in Kenya, and that is the legitimate outcome of negotiations and that’s why the African Union recognizes it as the legitimate government. So Ethiopia fully backs the position of the African Union, and we recognize the transitional federal government of Somalia. We don’t recognize the warlords and we don’t recognize the fundamentalists.”

The Islamic Alliance has also accused the Ethiopian government sending weapons to the federal transitional government. Bereket describes these accusations as blatant lies.

“The Ethiopian government believes that it is the African Union that it is African Union decision that should be implemented. So Ethiopia is not acting unilaterally in this respect.”

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