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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Somalia loses 11 more ministers
Prime Minister Ghedi
Mr Ghedi's government is under pressure
A further 11 ministers in Somalia's embattled interim government resigned on Tuesday, protesting at delays in planned talks with an Islamic group.

Talks with the Union of Islamic Courts, which holds much of the country, were due to take place on Wednesday.

Fisheries Minister Hassan Abshir Farah said the prime minister's decision to postpone them was unacceptable.

Last week 18 ministers left the Somali government, accusing it of being unwilling to open peace talks.

Mr Farah told Reuters news agency: "We had no option but to resign because we believe if the talks are postponed again it will affect the reconciliation efforts"

The Council called upon all member states to exercise restraint and ensure that their actions do not jeopardise the Somalia peace process
Igad ministers' statements
On Saturday, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi narrowly survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence, prompted by his perceived failure to reach a deal with the Islamic Courts.

The latest resignations came as ministers from the regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), met in neighbouring Kenya to try to resolve the crisis Somalia.

The ministers "called upon all member states to exercise restraint and ensure that their actions do not jeopardise the Somalia peace process," a joint statement said.

Regional rivals

Igad was expected to look into easing an arms embargo so that a peacekeeping force could be deployed.

But the Islamic Courts - which control the capital, Mogadishu and much of the south - reject proposals for foreign troops in Somalia.

Two Igad states - Ethiopia and Eritrea - are accused by rival Somali factions of meddling in the country.

Ethiopia has acknowledged sending troops to support the government in Baidoa and reports say Eritrea has been sending arms shipments to the Islamists in Mogadishu.

On Monday, the first commercial flight in a decade landed at Mogadishu's airport - an event that was interpreted as a sign of the Islamists' success in restoring order to a capital once split among rival clan-based factions.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Since then much of the country has been ruled by violence and clan law.




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