U.S. to Recognize Somali Government Paving Way for Aid

The U.S. will formally recognize the government in Somalia tomorrow, a step that paves the way for the U.S. and international finance organizations to aid the war-torn African nation.

“It’s the start of a significant process that underscores the return to stability that has occurred in Somalia over the last four years,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said today to reporters.

While the U.S. never suspended relations with Somalia, it closed its embassy when the central government collapsed in 1991 during the country’s civil war.

The recognition marks a turning point, two decades after the deadly October 1993 attempt to rescue two U.S. helicopter crews downed in Mogadishu, an incident portrayed in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to exchange diplomatic notes with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud tomorrow in a meeting at the State Department.

Mohamoud is in Washington to meet with the administration and officials at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Carson said that during a 2009 meeting with Somalia’s transitional government, Clinton set out two priorities: to keep the government stable and to rout al-Shabaab, a cell of al-Qaeda that controls large parts of southern Somalia.

“That has been our primary objective and it has been accomplished,” Carson said.

The terrorist group no longer controls any of Somalia’s major cities and its hold has been broken, the assistant secretary said. “Al Shabaab is on the run,” Carson said.

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