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Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Visit to Washington, DC

On January 17, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received the president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, at the U.S. Department of State. During the visit, Secretary Clinton announced that, for the first time since 1991, the United States recognizes the Government of Somalia. President Hassan Sheikh’s visit and the U.S. decision to recognize his government are evidence of the great strides toward stability Somalia has made over the past year. They also demonstrate the strong relationship between the Government of Somalia, its people, and the United States of America.

In 2012, after more than a decade of transitional governments, Somalia completed its political transition process. This culminated in a new provisional constitution, a new parliament, and the election by that parliament of Mr. Hassan Sheikh as Somalia’s president. In recognizing the Government of Somalia, the United States is committing to sustained diplomatic engagement with the Somali authorities. While we maintain responsibility for U.S. engagement in Somalia through our personnel in the Somalia Unit, led by Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, and co-located with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, we have increased our travel to Somalia over the last six months and plan to establish an even more robust presence there as security permits. In addition, recognition removes an obstacle to Somali participation in certain foreign assistance programs, including security sector programs like International Military and Education Training and Foreign Military Financing.

Along with other partners, U.S. engagement and assistance has played a critical role in getting Somalia to where it is today. We have provided significant humanitarian, security sector, and democracy and governance assistance that underpins much of Somalia’s progress to date. In FY 2012 alone, we provided over $450 million in foreign assistance to Somalia, including over $200 million in humanitarian assistance. Since 2007 we have provided more than $650 million for the African Union Mission in Somalia, to include UN assessed costs, and more than $130 million for the development of a professional, effective Somalia security sector.

Somalia’s long road to representative and accountable government has not ended. We applaud President Hassan Sheikh’s commitment to inclusive governance and call on Somalia’s new leaders to continue the reform effort and work together to create a better future for all Somalis. We will continue to help the new government strengthen democratic institutions, improve stability and security, and improve its ability to provide services to its citizens.

In addition to meeting Secretary Clinton, President Hassan Sheikh also met with Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Deputy Administrator of USAID Donald Steinberg, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory along with other U.S. government officials during his visit to Washington. He will meet with UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice on Friday. President Mohamud was accompanied on his visit by Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Fowziya Haji Adam, Minister of Information and Telecommunication Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi, and several senior advisors.

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