20 January 2013

Somalia: Puntland Welcomes U.S. Recognition of Somalia's New Government

Garowe — Somalia 's Puntland government says it welcomes the U.S. government 's official diplomatic recognition of the Somali Federal Government, Garowe Online reports.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton address journalists in Washington, D.C., on January 17, 2013

A press statement published today states that the U.S. has not recognized any national government in Somalia since 1991, while noting U.S. recognition as "a courageous and historic step in advancing U.S.-Somalia relations ".

Continuing, the statement said that Puntland shares its "commendations with the U.S. Government, the Somali President [Hassan Sheikh Mohamud], and the people of Somalia as a whole ".

The Puntland government statement noted the autonomous regio n 's contribution to the political process in Somalia to end the transitional period, while underling that the Puntland government "continues to contribute positively to strengthening peace, security and stability across Somalia ".

Puntland called on the U.S. and other international partners "to continue supporting peace and stabilization, humanitarian aid, good governance, and economic development programs " in Somalia.

The statement stressed the Puntland government 's expectations of the Somali Federal Government, which came to power in August 2012, noting in particular the issues of advancing federalism, fair allocation of international assistance to Somalia, promoting national reconciliation, and establishing the Upper House of the Somali Federal Parliament in accordance with the Somali Federal Constitution, the statement read.

The statement concluded with a congratulatory mention of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "for her valued accomplishments during her years in public service ".

Secretary Clinton met Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Washington, D.C., on January 17, where Secretary Clinton fo rmal ly announced U.S. diplomatic recognition of a national government in Somalia for the first time since 1991.

The Puntland government statement indicates the autonomous region 's support for the U.S. role in Somalia. The U.S. is among key nations in the world funding the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which has aided Somali government forces i n expelling Al Shabaab militants from key towns in south-central Somalia since 2011.

On January 10, U.S. Special Representative to Somalia Ambassador James Swan visited Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole in Bossaso for discussions on a range of issues and to promote relations.

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