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DATE=10/23/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ETHIOPIA/SOMALIA (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255400 BYLINE=JENNIFER WIENS DATELINE=NAIROBI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The leaders of three rival Somali factions have paid an unusual visit to Addis Ababa to meet with Ethiopian officials. As Jennifer Wiens reports from V-O-A's East Africa bureau in Nairobi, Ethiopia is trying to stop Somalia's involvement in the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. TEXT: Somali faction leaders Hussein Aidid, Hassan Osman Ali and Omar Hajji Massala are rivals in the ongoing struggle for control of Somalia and its capital, Mogadishu. But on Friday, the three rivals sat down together for talks with Ethiopian officials. The Ethiopian government requested the meeting and invited the Somali leaders to the capital, Addis Ababa, for talks with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin. One reason for the meeting is the mandate given to Ethiopia by the Organization of African Unity to try to bring peace to Somalia, which has been torn apart by clan and militia fighting since its central government collapsed in 1991. Ethiopia is also concerned about growing Somali involvement in the 19-month old border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia says Eritrea gives Hussein Aidid's faction arms and military training. In return, it says, terrorist groups use parts of Somalia controlled by Mr. Aidid as a base to launch attacks into southern Ethiopia. One such group is the Al-Itihad Al-Islam, which is allied with Aidid and fights to unite eastern Ethiopia's Ogaden region with Somalia and establish an Islamic state. Eritrea says it has no military presence in Somalia, and in turn accuses Ethiopia of backing Aidid's rivals. Official sources in Ethiopia say the Somali delegates and Foreign Minister Mesfin discussed these issues during Friday's meeting. The foreign minister reportedly told the three Somali leaders they must stop supporting forces opposed to Ethiopia, which have been trained by Eritrea and operate from Somalia. There was no indication if a final agreement was reached between the Somali delegation and the Ethiopians. (SIGNED) NEB/JW/ALW/LTD/JO 23-Oct-1999 11:39 AM EDT (23-Oct-1999 1539 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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