WAAJID, Somalia, July 23 (UPI) -- Somalia has edged closer to war as Ethiopian troops moved into a second Somali town and government-Islamist peace talks were canceled, it was reported Sunday.
Ethiopian troops now control an airstrip in the northern Somali town of Waajid, near the Ethiopian border, and were also in Baidoa to back up Somalia's interim government, the Independent said.
Ethiopia strongly backs the UN-supported government of President Abdullahi Yusuf and has vowed to prevent the country from slipping into the hands of Islamic extremists.
The Union of Islamic Courts or UIC, an Islamist militia that defeated an alliance of U.S.-backed warlords last month to take control of Mogadishu, refused to attend the peace talks after the latest Ethiopian troops arrived.
A leading UIC figure said anyone siding with the Ethiopians would be considered a traitor, the Independent said.