US issues irreducible minimums to Somalia's new leadership

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participates in the virtual U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, from the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 2021. [State Department Photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United States has congratulated Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for his victory in the recently concluded presidential election in Somalia, further extending gratefulness to the team that expedited the conclusion of much-delayed polls in the Horn of Africa nation.

As a traditional partner, the US joined other bigwigs such as the United Kingdom and Turkey in ushering in the new leadership in Somalia which was preceded by chaos pitting the opposition and the outgoing government under the leadership of Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed better known as Farmajo.

In a statement issued by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US emphasized the need to focus on key issues affecting the country. "With the conclusion of this process, Somalia now has an opportunity to focus on the political, economic, and security reforms necessary to advance the interests of the people of Somalia," he said.

Washington now wants Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to focus on strengthening democratic governance and institutions in the country which has struggled with insecurity and economic downturn for almost three decades, rendering certain government departments ineffective.

For this to happen, the US noted, Somalia's new leadership must also ensure local security forces assume full security responsibilities from the newly formed African Union Transition Mission [ATMIS] by the time the mission's mandate is over in the next 30 months or so.

"We encourage President Hassan Sheikh and all of Somalia’s leaders to prioritize strengthening democratic governance and institutions; developing security forces to prevent and counter-terrorism and assume full security responsibility from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia," Blinked noted.

Further, he noted: " The new administration must focus on enacting economic reforms to complete Somalia’s path to debt relief and strengthen the economy, and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to the millions of Somalis suffering from a devastating drought."

The US has been a close partner of the federal government of Somalia, which has struggled to contain violent extremism for the last decade or so, helping the country in capacity building, especially in training and equipping the Danab Special Forces contingent which is instrumental in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Washington further notes, must also focus on promoting reconciliation in the Horn of Africa nation which was significantly divided by the lengthy elections process. The US insists that it shall continue working closely with the current leadership.

"Reconciliation, compromise and enhanced dialogue among all levels of government and all communities will be vital to the success of these efforts," he said. "The United States looks forward to the timely formation of a new government and partnering with Somalia’s leaders to achieve our shared goal of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Somalia."


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