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Minn. politicians seek time with Obama on money transfers to Somalia

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Members of Minnesota's congressional delegation are among those calling for a meeting with Obama administration officials to discuss an emergency plan to restore money transfers to Somalia.

Lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to address how Somalis can safely send money back to their home country.

Last week, Merchants Bank of California closed the accounts of Somali-American money service businesses.

Mohamed Idris, executive director of the Columbia Heights-based American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa, says the move cut off a financial lifeline to many in Somalia.

"This is the backbone of Somali economy," Idris said. "And for sure it will have a devastating effect if intervention [does] not occur."

The letter requesting an emergency plan was signed by U.S. representatives Keith Ellison and Erik Paulsen, as well as senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.