Somali govt says militant opposition movement "no threat"

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MOGADISHU, Sep 13 (Reuters) Somalia's government today dismissed a new opposition movement vowing war on Ethiopian troops in the Horn of Africa nation as a ''terrorist alliance'' posing no real threat.

Somali opposition figures forged ''The Alliance For The Liberation Of Somalia'' in Eritrea yesterday in a move analysts said would boost Islamist-led insurgents fighting the interim government and its Ethiopian military allies.

A spokesman for Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi told Reuters the new group would have no influence.

''We don't see them as a threat since they cannot add to or reduce the explosions already taking place in Mogadishu,'' Musse Kulow said. ''Those behind the violence have distanced themselves from the Asmara alliance,'' he added, without elaborating.

The new group was created after a week of talks in the Eritrean capital by some 400 delegates ranging from Islamist leaders to former Somali government officials.

A spokesman in Asmara said it would push for the ''liberation of Somalia'' through military and diplomatic means.

In Mogadishu, Kulow said the interim government welcomed the formation of independent political parties. ''But we will never accept a terrorist alliance that wants to use violence to gain any progress,'' he said.

The formation of the alliance is yet another bone of contention between long-time foes Ethiopia and Eritrea, and is likely to push back any prospect of desperately needed reconciliation in Somali politics, analysts say.

There was no immediate comment from Ethiopian officials.


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