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Yemen to host Somali talks, state Web site says

Written by: Staff
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SANAA, June 16 (Reuters) The leaders of Somalia's Islamic Courts, whose militia controls the capital Mogadishu, have agreed to hold talks with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in Yemen, a Yemeni state-run Web site said today Militia loyal to Islamic Courts wrested control of Mogadishu on June 5 from warlords widely viewed as backed by Washington, after a three-month battle.

The interim government has been powerless to control fighting and is too weak to move to the capital.

''Informed sources said the leadership of the Somali Islamic Courts has informed our country that it is willing to come to Sanaa to carry out direct talks with President Yusuf and the interim Somali government to stop the bloodshed and restore calm and stability,'' said the September 26 site (www.26sep.net).

It said Yemeni officials had been in discussions with both sides to arrange the talks. It added that a Yemeni government source welcomed the talks, but gave no more details.

A source close to the Islamic Courts Union chairman, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, told Reuters earlier on Friday that Yemen had invited Ahmed and Yusuf for talks.

Earlier this year Yemen had brokered talks to end an impasse that had paralysed the Somali interim government for more than a year, mostly over Yusuf's plan to bring in foreign peacekeepers to help secure his administration and pacify Mogadishu.

REUTERS DH RAI0333

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