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Ethiopian troops to soon leave Somalia, PM says

Ethiopian troops fighting al-Qaida-linked militants in neighboring Somalia will soon return home, Ethiopia's prime minister said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said regions of Somalia currently controlled by Ethiopian forces will be handed over to troops from Burundi, Kenya, Djibouti and Rwanda. The first three countries have troops in Somalia as part of the African Union peacekeeping force. Rwanda does not currently have troops in Somalia.

Ethiopian troops moved into Somalia at the beginning of the year. Meles said the mission has accomplished "very good results" in fighting al-Shabab militants.

He did not provide a timeline for such a withdrawal and handover.

"The aim of our involvement was to aide the (Somali) transitional government and help weaken Shabab insurgents. And it has been successful," Meles told the country's parliament.

Meles said Ethiopian forces have met little military resistance in Somalia, although al-Shabab has claimed to have carried out several deadly attacks against the Ethiopian troops.

He also told parliament that Ethiopia would not become involved in a war with archrival Eritrea. Last month Ethiopian troops moved into neighboring Eritrea and attacked three military camps in response to militant attacks on tourists inside Ethiopia.