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Ethiopian Foreign Minister Visits Somalia to Mediate Political Crisis


Ethiopia's foreign minister is visiting Somalia to mediate a dispute within Somalia's transitional government.

Somali spokesman Abdirahman Dinari says Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin Saturday met with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf in the southern town of Baidoa, where the government is based.

Seyoum is trying to mend a growing rift within the largely-powerless government. Since last week, 40 officials have quit, including more than one-third of the cabinet.

Most of the former officials blame the crisis on Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. They say he has been reluctant to pursue peace talks with Islamic militias.

Late Friday, Mr. Gedi nominated seven new ministers to fill vacated posts. The president must approve the appointments.

Mr. Gedi has vowed to stay in power despite the mass defections from the government.

Baidoa is the only southern town that Mr. Gedi's government controls. Somalia's Islamic courts have extended their influence over most of the south since they took control of the capital, Mogadishu, in June.

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