Somali president refuses talks with Islamist leaders
Aweys Osman Yusuf
He said his government believes that Islamist leaders are criminals who should be tried for their crimes. “They are responsible for the instability and destruction in the country, so my government will neither negotiate nor pardon these criminals,” he said.
Asked if Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the Islamist executive council leader, would be exceptional to government non-pardoning rule against hardline Islamists, Yusuf said Sheik Ahmed was leading “axis of evil”. “He is as same as the others,” he said.
Mr. Yusuf has also asserted that a group of “terrorists” are responsible for the series of nightly mortar attacks against the government and Ethiopian military positions in the capital. “These guys believe if I am killed, my government will collapse. If I die, my government will still function,” he said.
The president has revealed in a speech he gave in the Somali parliament on 31 January during a ceremony in which the new speaker Sheik Aden Mdobe was inaugurated that the government was planning to organize a national reconciliation conference with the exclusion of the defeated Union of Islamic Courts.
The Western nations, including the
Mr. Yusuf said Islamists were always planning to assassinate a number of Somali officials including him, the premier Ali Mohammed Gedi and the president of the breakaway