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Somalia PM Survives No-Confidence Vote

Somalia's interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has survived a no-confidence motion in parliament.

Eighty-eight lawmakers voted Sunday to keep the prime minister, just enough to prevent the fall of Mr. Gedi's transitional government.

The government was weakened Thursday when 18 cabinet ministers resigned. Another blow came Friday when the minister overseeing efforts to rewrite Somalia's constitution was shot and killed in Baidoa, the only town under the government's control.

Many lawmakers have said they oppose Mr. Gedi's decision to allow Ethiopian troops onto Somali territory. The troops arrived in Baidoa earlier this month after Islamic militias appeared to threaten the government by moving to within 40 kilometers of the town.

The militias, loyal to Somalia's Islamic courts, control much of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu.

Islamic authorities in the capital have condemned Ethiopia for supporting the government, while the government accuses Ethiopia's main rival Eritrea of backing the Islamists.

Two cargo planes touched down in Mogadishu this week under mysterious circumstances. In both cases, Islamic gunmen closed off roads to the airport and chased away onlookers as the cargo was unloaded.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, says both the government and miliitas have been backed by foreign forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.