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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Ethiopia PM in shock Somali trip
Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Mr Meles says he wants to withdraw his troops
Ethiopia's prime minister has made a surprise visit to Somalia - the first since his troops helped to oust Islamists from the capital, Mogadishu.

Meles Zenawi is holding talks with President Abdullahi Yusuf, said Somali government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon.

The presence of thousands of Ethiopian troops in Somalia is unpopular with many Mogadishu residents.

Despite the defeat of the Islamists, Ethiopian and government troops are often the target of bombings.

Over the weekend, at least six people died in an attack on the house of the Somali prime minister.

Three more were killed after Ethiopian and government troops opened fire after they were grenades were thrown at them.

Anti-Ethiopia alliance

Last month, Ethiopia re-opened its embassy in Mogadishu after a break of 30 years.

Ethiopia and Somalia have fought two bitter wars in the past - the last in 1977.

Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and former Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed have formed an alliance opposed to Ethiopia.

The alliance, which is based in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, was launched after recent fighting in Mogadishu that killed some 1,600 people.

Ethiopia and the US accuse Eritrea of supporting insurgents opposed to the transitional government in Mogadishu - a claim Eritrea denies.

Mr Meles says he wants to withdraw his troops from Somalia but only after they are replaced by African Union peacekeepers.

Some 1,600 Ugandan troops have been sent as the vanguard of the proposed 8,000-strong force.


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