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IGAD urges Somalia’s neighbors to coordinate with Mogadishu


July 12, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — IGAD countries reiterated their support to the fragile Somali government and called on the neighboring countries to coordinate with Mogadishu over the Islamist insurgency.

In an extraordinary meeting held in the Ethiopian capital on Friday, the IGAD Council of ministers discussed the recent development in the Somalia.

The meeting in a 15 point statement released by the six countries called upon Somalis neighboring states to "to intensify border surveillance and establish coordinating mechanisms to monitor and identify the movement of negative elements to and from Somali."

Speaking to the press, the Ethiopian foreign minister, Seyoum Mesfin pointed out that "there is ... a need to facilitate conditions that will make it possible for the neighboring countries to avail their support to the TFG more effectively and in a more helpful way."

Mesfin who chaired the meeting stressed that "the fighting is no longer between and among Somalis.""It is a war of aggression on Somalia by external enemies, including al-Qaeda."

Last week the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said his country does not support Ethiopia’s intervention in Somalia describing it as "counterproductive." He further added that the United States would provide direct military assistance to Mogadishu.

Carson however said Addis Ababa has the right to defend its territory if individuals cross the border saying Ethiopia’s efforts should be directed at defence of their territory and not necessarily involvement inside of Somalia."

However, the Somali foreign minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Omer warned that foreign Islamists fighters are arriving by the thousands in Somalia to fight against his government.

"The current war in Somalia is a foreign war, led and supported by from outside the country," he said. "The leaders and the commanders of the armies are foreign, money comes from outside, ideology and political intentions, and programs are foreign based."

The meeting was attended by representatives of the African Union and the European Union.


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