Somalia's exiled opposition leaders Monday lashed out at the international community's support for the Ethiopian-backed interim government and defended the insurgency against Mogadishu.
"The resistance of Somali people is a legitimate response" to Ethiopian occupation, former parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden said in a statement issued in the Eritrean capital Asmara.
Much of Somalia's opposition leadership has been in Asmara since the Islamic Courts Union were ousted by Ethiopian-backed government troops earlier this year. They are boycotting a reconciliation meeting underway in Mogadishu.
Sheikh Aden blasted Western powers for supporting the meeting, which he described as "false peace talks" and singled out France for criticism following foreign minister Bernard Kouchner's visit to Ethiopia last week.
The former speaker warned "Kouchner and his Western allies" that "the Somali regime has lost people's confidence."
He also warned France to stop backing the deployment of Burundian peacekeepers in Mogadishu, "so as not to appear hostile forces enforcing occupation."
In Addis Ababa Friday, Kouchner called for urgent UN intervention in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa country.
Sheikh Aden and around 30 other senior mainly Islamist Somali leaders are preparing their own conference in Asmara. It is due to kick off September 1.
Somalia has been without an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre sparked a power struggle that has defied numerous attempts to restore stability.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2007, 17:35