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Hard-line opposition leader rejects Somali peace deal
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17:04, October 27, 2008

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Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, Islamist leader of the Asmara-based hard-line faction of the opposition Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS), Monday reiterated his rejection of the ceasefire agreement signed on Sunday between the Somali transitional government and another faction of the ARS.

Speaking to the local Shabelle radio, Aweys, described the deal as "betrayal," saying the agreement was "designed to undermine the Somali people."

He vowed his fighters will continue attacking targets of Somali government officials and its forces and the Ethiopian troops backing it. He said that his faction will "fight on until the last Ethiopian soldier leaves Somali soil."

"They just want to revive the failing government and those in Djibouti (the opposition) just took the path of the government," Aweys said.

On Sunday, a delegation from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and representatives from the ARS opposition faction led by the moderate Islamist leader Sheik Sharif Shiek Ahmed signed a ceasefire agreement and a power sharing deal after a number of other previous deals failed to stop the violence in the war-ravaged country.

The TFG and ARS have decided to stop waging hostile campaigns against each other "by using the media both in the country and abroad."

"Effective 26 October, 2008 ceasefire observance has been announced. It will become effective 5 November 2008," the agreement said.

Under the agreement, both sides called upon their supporters and the Somali population "to adhere and support this cessation of armed confrontation in the interest of the Somalia."

The agreement also stipulates the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from specific areas in the capital Mogadishu and the central Somali town of Baldwyn before their full withdrawal from Somalia.

They have also agreed "the early establishment of a Somali Unity Government."

Other Somali insurgent groups, including the hard-line Al-Shabaab Islamist movement, oppose the agreement with the Somali government, vowing they will continue to fight as long as the Ethiopian troops are in Somalia.


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