US seeks settlement in Somalia to stem terrorism

The United States is calling for a negotiated settlement to end fighting in Somalia, where Ethiopian troops have intervened to stop increasingly powerful Islamic militias. The administration outlined its position on Tuesday as Ethiopian troops joined with forces from Somalia's secular transitional government in an assault on the Islamists, believed by US officials to be harboring al-Qaida jihadists. State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos signaled US backing for Ethiopia by noting that it has had "genuine security concerns" arising from the Islamist gains in Somalia. The United States has been supporting Ethiopia's Christian-led government with counterterrorism assistance.