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Somalia: Ethiopian premier, faction head in "serious disagreement"

March 15th,2002

Reports from Gaalkacyo say that a serious disagreement has developed between Abdullahi Yusuf, the former president of the Puntland regional state [northeastern Somalia] and the Ethiopian prime minister.

The disagreement arose after the Ethiopian government urged leaders of the SRRC [Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council] to participate in the peace conference scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, next month. With the exception of Abdullahi Yusuf, all SRRC leaders accepted to attend the conference.

Abdullahi requested the Ethiopia government to postpone the conference to give him an opportunity to capture the port city of Boosaaso [Puntland commercial capital].

He also requested Ethiopia to provide him with troops and arms to enable him capture the city. The government of the neighbouring country rejected the request, saying it was facing pressure from several quarters, including America.

The reports added that SRRC leaders, who believe the capture of Boosaaso could put them in a better bargaining position at the conference, were mediating between Abdullahi Yusuf and the Ethiopian government.

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