Somalia PM holds talks with top US officials in Washington
WASHINGTON, USA - Somalia's Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire held separate “broad-based" talks with senior US officials in Washington DC in the past few days, Garowe Online reports.
The PM is accompanying by the minister of Finance and other officials on his visit to the United States met with David Norquist, US Under Secretary for Defense and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale.
During the talks, they discussed bilateral relations between Somalia and the US and reviewed scopes of co-operation and other issues of mutual interest, particularly in the economic, financial and security fields.
"Held constructive talks with David Norquist, US Under Secretary for Defense. I expressed immense gratitude for America’s role in the war on terror. Discussed how we can enhance our partnership in the security sector reform to enable our forces to be fully in control of security," PM Khaire tweeted.
The PM said that he equally held a fruitful meeting with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs, David Hale where they discussed mechanisms to expedite institutional recovery and the role of US in helping to actualize Somalia's robust National Reforms Agenda.
The meetings with US officials were held on the sidelines of Somali PM's participation in High-Level Round Table on Somalia's economic reforms and debt relief with the World Bank and IMF in Washington.
The other officials that the PM met include the Acting Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development in the United States Department of the Treasury, Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton and Norway's Minister of International Development, Dag Inge Ulstein.
According to the IMF, Somalia's external debt is about 5 billion U.S. dollars, but Mogadishu has not made a service or amortization payment since the onset of the civil war two decades ago, making it impossible to access loans from the IMF.
Since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, the US military has stepped up air raids against the group in Somalia, carrying out 47 attacks last year.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group, Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow the Internationally-backed weak Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab still controls large parts of rural, southern, and central Somalia, and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in the capital Mogadishu and elsewhere.