Jendayi Fraser, the American assistant secretary of state, says the United States is ready to offer air support to an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to be deployed in Somalia.
Fraser announced the offer after a meeting with Alpha Oumar Konare, the AU commission's chairperson, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She says US support would include airlifts and contracting airplanes to the proposed AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.
The AU has approved the deployment of 7 600 troops, but the union is short of money for the operation.
Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi have offered to contribute troops to the mission whose deployment date remains unclear. Ethiopian troops are currently playing the role of a stabilising force, backing up the weak transitional government after defeating the powerful Union of Islamic Courts.