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Somali PM in US to Seek Aid, Peacekeepers

Somalia's interim prime minister is in the United States seeking more international help for his war-ravaged country.

In an exclusive interview with VOA, Ali Mohamed Gedi says he will talk to the United Nations Security Council this week about sending U.N. peacekeepers to Somalia.

He says he will also request greater humanitarian aid for his country.

A small African Union force in Somalia has done little to stop rampant violence that includes almost-daily attacks on government targets and allied Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu.

Mr. Gedi told VOA that his administration has proof of al-Qaida's involvement in the violence. He also rejected the idea of holding a planned national reconciliation conference outside Somalia.

The government has already postponed the conference three times this year. Mr. Gedi blamed the delay on international funding he says did not arrive on time.

Mr. Gedi met Monday with officials at the White House, Congress and the State Department.

The Somali government has struggled to establish its authority since ousting a rival Islamist movement from the capital and other cities late last year with the help of Ethiopian troops.

The government blames the attacks on remnants of the Islamist movement, although clan militias are also believed to be involved. The prime minister survived a suicide bombing at his home last month that killed several people.

Somalia has not had an effective central government in 16 years, since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.