Somalia's exiled Islamist opposition is rejecting peace talks with the government that began in Djibouti on Tuesday.

The Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia says that opposition figures attending the talks are not authorized to meet with the government or sign any agreements.

In the statement posted on its Web site on Wednesday, the group says it will never hold talks with the Somali government as long as Ethiopian troops remain in Somalia.

Ethiopia has several thousand soldiers in Somalia to help the interim government battle an Islamist-led insurgency.

The exiled opposition alliance is based in Eritrea and includes members of the Islamic Courts Union, which controlled much of Somalia in 2006 before being ousted by government and Ethiopian troops.

Fighting between insurgents and pro-government forces has killed thousands of Somalis in the year-and-a-half since.

Somalia has endured 17 years of chaos and conflict since the fall of the last stable government.