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Ethiopian Foreign Minister in Baidoa to Talk with Somali Government


The Ethiopian foreign minister is in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, where the government is based. Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin is reportedly there to mediate a dispute between top Somali government leaders. He met today with Somali president Abdullai Yusuf in the southern town of Baidoa, where the government is based. Seyoum is trying to mend a growing rift within the government, which has seen at least more than a third of the cabinet quit.

But the visit has drawn an angry response from the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls the capital, Mogadishu. At a news conference in Mogadishu, the security chief of the Islamic Courts, Yusuf Mohamad, criticized Somalia’s internal affairs.

Mohamed Dare, the news editor of RadioAfrik in Mogadishu, attended the press conference. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that Abdulai Yusuf said the Ethiopian government is trying to derail the talks between the Islamic Courts and the transitional national government in Khartoum.

During the press conference, the security chief reiterated the Islamic Courts’ commitment to Somali sovereignty.

“Although we recognize the transitional government, and that is why we agreed to meet them in Khartoum, inviting a foreign force to destabilize our country will not be tolerated.”

Dare said that many Islamic Courts officials think it’s acceptable to help the government in Baidoa but that Ethiopia should not intervene since he says the interests of the Ethiopian government run counter to those of the Somali people.

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