|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
Islamic Courts Snubs UN resolution
Mogadishu, Somalia, December 7, 2006 – The Union of Islamic Courts executive council in Somalia has rejected a UN resolution that authorizes a regional force to support the interim Somali government.
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, head of the Union of Islamic Courts, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the decision was "not made by the UN but by the US".
He said: "We [the Islamic Courts] totally reject it because Somalia does not need international forces. Somalia needs support to continue its peaceful path towards ending this crisis."
The Islamic Courts called on the international community not to interfere in Somalia.
"The international community should respect Somalia's will because Somalis themselves have chosen this way", Ahmed said.
Ali Mohammed Ghedi, the interim government's prime minister, denied that Islamic Courts had popular support in the country.
However, if foreign troops enter Somalia, Islamic Courts says it will fight them.
Ahmed said: "We [the Islamic Courts] tell them, you will be defeated, so do not enter Somalia. We do not want your fight and your injustice. We want peace for Somalia and the whole world."
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a regional force to protect the interim Somali government, which is under increasing pressure from the Union of Islamic Courts, and also lifted an arms embargo to allow the force to be equipped.
Security Council's move is aimed at stepping up pressure on the powerful Islamic Courts.
Islamic Courts fighters have taken control of the capital and most of southern Somalia since June.
The US-sponsored resolution urged the Islamic Courts fighters to stop any further military expansion and to join the transitional government in talks to achieve a political settlement in the country, which has not had an effective government since 1991.
It threatened Security Council action against those who attempt to overthrow the government, but no specific measures were mentioned.
Critics of the resolution, including some non-governmental organizations, accuse the Security Council of taking sides in supporting the transitional government.
The government was formed with the help of the UN two years ago, but it has struggled to assert its authority against the Islamic Courts.
John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, said the US is concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Somalia and the possibility of a wider regional conflict, and views a regional force "as a key element in preventing conflict".
"The international community has proven to be biased and unjust"
Abdirahin Ali Mudey, spokesman for the Council of Islamic Courts
There are fears that Somalia could become a proxy battleground for Ethiopia and Eritrea, which fought a border war from 1998 to 2000.
A confidential UN report obtained recently by The Associated Press said up to 8,000 Ethiopian troops were in Somalia or along the border, supporting the transitional government.
It also said 2,000 soldiers from Eritrea were inside Somalia, supporting the Islamic Courts.
Eritrea denies this and Ethiopia says it has sent only a few hundred advisers to the country.
The Islamic courts said the resolution could push them into a war with interim government forces.
"We see the approval of the resolution as nothing but an evil intention," Abdirahin Ali Mudey, a spokesman for the Council of Islamic Courts, told the Associated Press.
He said the resolution would bring more sophisticated weapons into Somalia and he accused the Security Council of giving Ethiopia permission to occupy the country.
The Islamic courts said they will also reconsider attending peace talks which are scheduled for later this month.
"The international community has proven to be biased and unjust," he said.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies