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[Published: Thursday June 25 2009]

Somali government won't be toppled: Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, 25 June-(ANA)-Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on has played down the threat posed by insurgents to Somalia's government saying he believed President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed would not be toppled.

"Our reading of the situation in Somalia and in Mogadishu, is slightly different from the one of the speaker of the parliament that if there is no foreign military intervention within 24 hours, the TFG (transitional federal government) will collapse," Meles told reporters.

"Our reading is that the TFG is facing a very difficult situation with Shebab and Hezb al-Islam militias supported by hundreds of jihadists that pose difficult challenges. But we don't believe they risk to be toppled," he added.

Somalia's speaker last week made an urgent appeal for a foreign military intervention to prop up the internationally backed government, which has been facing a fierce insurgent military offensive since May 7.

In 2006, Ethiopia invaded Somalia to remove an Islamist rebellion that had taken control of large swathes of the country.

When it pulled out earlier this year, having failed to stabilise the country and significantly strengthen the transitional government, Ethiopia warned it could return at any time should hardliners threaten to take control.(ANA)

FA/ANA/25 June 2009---


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