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Seyoum Visits Somalia to Boost Existing Ties
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 29 February 2008 - Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin visited Somalia on Wednesday to discuss on outstanding issues surrounding Somalia's peace and security, including Ethiopia's continued support to that troubled African state.
Somalia's interim government and its Ethiopian military backers are battling an insurgency in Mogadishu led by remnants of a hardline Islamist group kicked out of the city a year ago.
Upon his arrival at Somalia's south-central town of Baidao, Seyoum went straight to the presidential palace where he met and held discussions with government's three authorities of Prime minister Nor Hassan Husein and President Abdullahi Yusuf, including the speaker of the parliament Sheikh Adan Madobe.
According to news reports from Somalia, Seyoum met the three Somali officials in a "crucial closed doors".
Speculating on the subject of the talk, the reports said Somalia's persistent crisis and possibility of any reconciliation talks with the opposition groups was high on the agenda.
Baidao is where parliament sits. It is also the temporary base of the transitional government.
Seyoum returned home on Thursday having met President Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein who travelled from capital Mogadishu to Baidoa, to meet him.
Speaking on his arrival at the Bole International Airport, Seyoum said the purpose of his visit was to review current peace and security situation in Somalia and reach on a consensus so far with the authorities and look in to the way forward.
He said they agreed on the need to strengthen the transitional government of Somalia, and on enhanced role of the AU, the UN, and the international community to help lasting peace prevail in Somalia.
Activists say fighting in Mogadishu killed 6,500 people last year and wounded 8,500. Ill-equipped African Union peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi have failed to reduce the bloodshed.
Seyoum expressed regrets over unfulfilled promises by AU member states which pledged to send troops to serve under the African Union Mission in Somali (AMIS).
"The African Union Mission there is 5000 short of troops," Seyoum told reporters as transmitted on the state TV.
Source: The Daily Monitor