Tuesday, December 26, 2006

AU backs Ethiopian strikes on Somalia

The African Union (AU) has defended Ethiopia's military involvement in the growing crisis in Somalia.

Ethiopian aircraft earlier bombed two Somali airports, including the international airport in the capital,Mogadishu.

The attacks followed fierce clashes between Ethiopian forces supporting Somalia's transitional government and fighters for the Union of Islamic Courts, which has taken over much of the country.

AU spokesman Patrick Mazimhaka says the union failed to act in time to prevent an escalation in violence.

But he says Ethiopia has the right to take action if it believes it is being threatened.
"We do not criticise Ethiopia because Ethiopia has given us ample warning that they are threatened by the Islamic Courts group," Mr Mazimhaka said.

"And they have made clear statements about their intentions towards their neighbours and we believe that it's up to every country to judge what the measure of threat is against their own sovereignty and be able to react adequately."

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