Somali opposition forms new "liberation" movement

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ASMARA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Somali opposition figures meeting in Eritrea have united to form a new "liberation" movement to seek a military or diplomatic solution to conflict in their homeland, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We have two-track options -- first is the liberation of Somalia through military struggle, the second is through diplomatic efforts," said Zakariya Mahamud Abdi, spokesman for the delegates in Asmara.

The new movement will be called The Alliance For The Liberation Of Somalia, he added.

About 400 opposition figures, from Islamist leaders to a former deputy prime minister, have been meeting in Eritrea since last week to unify and plot strategy to get Ethiopian troops out of Somalia.

Thousands of Ethiopian soliders crossed the border last year to help the interim government's forces chase out an Islamic Courts movement that ruled Mogadishu and most of the south for six months.

"I would warn the Ethiopian occupying forces to withdrawn" Abdi added to reporters in Eritrea. "It's now or never."

The Somali opposition conference delegates have expressed sympathy towards Islamist-led insurgents fighting allied Ethiopian and government troops most of this year.