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US Takes Historic Step By Recognizing the Government of Somalia

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With the recent creation of a functioning democratic government in 2012, the United States of America today announced for the first time since 1991 that it is recogninzing the Government of Somalia.

In her remarks with President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after their meeting in Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says it is a great privilege for the US to be welcoming President Hassan Sheikh and his delegation at the State Department.

"Today's meeting has been a long time in the making. Four years ago, at the start of the Obama Administration, Somalia was, in many ways, a different country than it is today." - Ms. Clinton

She says the people and leaders of Somalia have fought and sacrificed to bring greater stability, security, and peace to their nation.

There is still a long way to go and many challenges to confront, but the world has seen a new foundation for that better future being laid, Ms. Clinton said.

"I am delighted to announce that for the first time since 1991, the United States is recognizing the Government of Somalia." - Ms. Clinton

Ms. Clinton narrates that when she entered the State Department in January 2009, al-Shabaab controlled most of Mogadishu and south and central Somalia. She says it looked at the time like it would even gain more territory.

The people of Somalia had already endured many years of violence and isolation, and they wanted to change that, she stressed.

The US wanted to work together, not only with the people of Somalia but with governments across the region, the international community, and other likeminded friends.

In early 2009, the final Transitional Federal Government began its work.

According to Ms. Clinton, Somali security forces, supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia, and troops from Uganda and Burundi and now Kenya and Djibouti began to drive al-Shabaab out of cities and towns.

Humanitarian aid finally began getting to the people in need, she said.

Local governments resumed their work, she added.

Commerce and travel began to pick up and now progress was halting at times, but it was unmistakable, Ms. Clinton said.

"And today, thanks to the extraordinary partnership between the leaders and people of Somalia, with international supporters, al-Shabaab has been driven from Mogadishu and every other major city in Somalia." - Ms. Clinton

She says while this fight was going on, at the same time, Somalia's leaders worked to create a functioning democratic government.

However, Ms. Clinton says now that process, too, was quite challenging.

She explains that for today, for the first time in two decades, this country has a representative government with a new president, a new parliament, a new prime minister, and a new constitution.

som
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is the President of Somalia, having been elected on 10 September 2012. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
She adds that Somalia's leaders are well aware of the work that lies ahead of them, and that it will be hard work.

But they have entered into this important mission with a level of commitment that we find admirable, she pointed out.

So Somalia has the chance to write a new chapter, she said.

According to Ms. Clinton, when Assistant Secretary Carson visited Mogadishu in June, the first U.S. Assistant Secretary to do so in more than 20 years, and when Under Secretary Sherman visited a few months ago, they discovered a new sense of optimism and opportunity.

"Now we want to translate that into lasting progress." - Ms. Clinton

Somalia's transformation was achieved first and foremost by the people and leaders of Somalia, backed by strong, African-led support, she highlighted.

The US also thanks the African Union, which deserves a great deal of credit for Somalia's success.

She notes that the United States was proud to support this effort.

The US provided more than $650 million in assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia, more than 130 million to Somalia's security forces.

In the past two years, the US have given nearly $360 million in emergency humanitarian assistance and more than $45 million in development-related assistance to help rebuild Somalia's economy. And we have provided more than $200 million throughout the Horn of Africa for Somali refugee assistance.

"We've also concentrated a lot of our diplomacy on supporting democratic progress." - Ms. Clinton

She says this has been a personal priority for Ms. Clinton during her time as Secretary where she is very pleased that in her last weeks in the US State Department, the US is taking this historic step of recognizing the government.

The US and Somalia will continue to work closely, and she had dsicussed with PRESIDENT HASSAN SHEIKH in detail some of the work that lies ahead and what the government and people of Somalia are asking of the United States now.

"Our diplomats, our development experts are traveling more frequently there, and I do look forward to the day when we can reestablish a permanent U.S. diplomatic presence in Mogadishu." - Ms. Clinton

She adds that both countries will also continue, as we well know, to face the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

"It is not just a problem in Somalia; it is a problem across the region." - Ms. Clinton

The terrorists, once again in the last days, are not resting, and neither will them, she stressed.

She says both countries will be very clear-eyed and realistic about the threat they continue to pose.

Both countries have particular concerns about the dangers facing displaced people, especially women, who continue to be vulnerable to violence, rape, and exploitation.

"So today is a milestone. It's not the end of the journey but it's an important milestone to that end." - Ms. Clinton

The US respects the sovereignty of Somalia, and as two sovereign nations will continue to have an open, transparent dialogue about what more they can do to help the people of Somalia realize their own dreams, Ms. Clinton underlined.

"Mr. President, and your leaders work to build democratic institutions, protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, respond to humanitarian needs, build the economy, please know that the United States will be a steadfast partner with you every step of the way." - Ms. Clinton

In September 2012, one week after the historic selection of a new leader in war-torn Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was inaugurated in the capital of Mogadishu.

Reports say Mohamud won the election against outgoing President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79.

The inauguration ceremony was reportedly participated by prominent regional leaders including the PM of Ethiopia and president of Djibouti.

The top United Nations envoy in Somalia hailed the inauguration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as a "new era" for the war-scarred nation.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) Augustine P. Mahiga
also UN's continued support to help Somalia move forward.

The international community considers the inauguration of the new President marks the end of the transitional period and the beginning of a "new era" for a country that has been engulfed with turmoil over several decades.

Reports say Hassan Sheikh Mohamud a political newcomer won the election against outgoing President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79.

In 2011, Mohamud reportedly organized a new political party in Somalia named Peace and Development.

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hailed the selection of a new president for Somalia.

Mr. Ban said the selection of the new President brings an end to the eight-year political transition.

In addition, Mr. Ban congratulated the New Federal Parliament and its Speaker for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the process.

Mr. Ban reportedly is looking forward to the upcoming high-level meeting on Somalia in the margins of the General Assembly later this month.

In addition, the United States of America also congratulated President Hassan Sheikh and the Somali people on the successful election.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton commended former President Sheikh Sharif for his humility in conceding the election.

In August 2012, Somalia's National Constitutional Assembly has approved a Provisional Constitution in historic vote on Wednesday.

Reports say the approval of the new constitution is a key milestone towards ending the country's current transitional period.

Delegates to the Somalia's National Constituent Assembly is a 825-member constituent assembly, with delegates representing Somali clans and civil society.

The leaders reportedly debated the constitution for nine days and approved the constitution with 621 for, 13 against and 11 abstained from voting.

The National Constituent Assembly represented the diverse concerns of the nation as it reviewed and ultimately approved the Provisional Constitution.

Despite significant logistical difficulties, political pressure, death threats, and two attacks on the National Constituent Assembly venue, this vote affirms that the Somali people will not be intimidated by violence as they work to rebuild their country, Ms. Clinton highlighted.

Somalia has been in constant wars for past two past decades since the collapse of the Somali state in January 21, 1991. Millions of lives were lost and countless number of people had been internally displaced.

Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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