Thursday, March 13, 2003

Government denies troop presence in Somalia
NAIROBI, 13 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - The Ethiopian government has denied accusations by the Transitional National Government (TNG) of Somalia that Ethiopian forces have invaded Somali territory.

In a statement, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said "there is no Ethiopian soldier in Somalia" and described the accusation as "totally groundless and with no grain of truth".

On Tuesday, Muhammad Abdi Yusuf, the deputy speaker of the Transitional National Assembly and acting leader of the TNG delegation to the peace talks underway in Kenya, told IRIN that Ethiopian troops had "occupied parts of Somalia over the past few days". He added that "so long as Ethiopia is part of the mediation group, the TNG will not participate".

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