US formally recognizes Somali gov’t
WASHINGTON - Agence France-PresseThe United States was yesterday set to recognize the first Somali government in two decades, heralding a significant shift in ties since the deadly 1993 attack on U.S. helicopters over Mogadishu.
The beginning of the new chapter will come when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanges diplomatic notes with visiting Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a top U.S. official said Jan 16.
“The visit here this week of the new Somalian President Mohamud represents a significant change in the security and political situation on the ground in Somalia and our relationship with that country,” Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said. It will be Clinton’s first meeting with the new Somali leader who was only elected in September, and was relatively unknown outside his country.
No effective gov’t in Somalia since 1991
Somalia has not had an effective central government since 1991. Two years later, Americans were shocked by scenes of U.S. soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu after Somali militants shot down two Black Hawk helicopters. Eighteen Americans died, and 80 were wounded.
However, a new Somali administration took office last year, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled government. In recent months, African Union force wrested a string of key towns from the control of Islamist al-Shabaab insurgents.