Sunday, June 17, 2007

Somalia to extend olive branch to Islamists?

And the US is paying for it???? Big MISTAKE.

The Somali interim government has proposed to pardon Islamists who were jailed after government forces, with help from the Ethiopian army, launched a military operation against them in January. Under the proposal, the government would pardon Islamists who have been fighting the government for months, and release jailed Islamists.

Government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon told the media this plan had been discussed by cabinet ministers in order to “extend an olive branch” to former fighters from the Union of Islamic Courts, other anti-government fighters and politicians from the opposition.

The decision for a pardon would likely require parliamentary approval. The number of imprisoned Islamist fighters is unknown. Somali has not had a stable government since 1991.

Last week a United Nations-backed reconciliation conference between the government and the Islamists was postponed for a month for the third time, due to insecurity and lack of funds.

Washington has released $1.25 million to fund the July 15 conference.