[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Ethiopia attacking Ogaden rebels
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Meles said Ethiopian soldiers had not killed innocent civilians
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says his government has been conducting "military sweeps" against rebels in Ethiopia's Somali region.

The push against Ogaden National Liberation Front rebels came after Somali elders had gone to Europe and the US to meet them, he said.

Mr Meles said he endorsed the meetings to try to resolve the conflict in the region, but that the talks had failed.

He said the offensive was requested by elders after they returned to Ethiopia.

"I am not aware of innocent civilians being killed by our forces. I am aware of Somali people being killed by the ONLF because they are accused of supporting the government," he said.

Ethiopia's eastern Ogaden region shares a long and porous border with Somalia, and most of its people are of the Somali ethnic group.

Mr Meles has also denied reports that Ethiopian soldiers have been sent into Somalia recently, in support of the fragile transitional government based in Baidoa.


SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific