26 February 2013

Somalia: Nation Accredits Five European Ambassodors

Mogadishu — Somalia accredited ambassadors from five European nations on Tuesday, a move hailed by the president as sending a signal that the war-ravaged nation was "becoming a normal country.

Ambassadors of Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Finland presented their credentials to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who said he hoped Somalia would "soon see many international flags flying over Mogadishu".

All the ambassadors are based in Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya due to security concerns.

Somalia has been ravaged by conflict since 1991 but a new UN-backed government took power in September, ending eight years of transitional rule by a corruption-riddled administration.

Many have said the new government offers the most serious hope for stability since the fall of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Few countries have an ambassador based in Mogadishu, with those that do including Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey and Yemen.

From Europe, ambassadors from Britain and Italy are also accredited but are based in Nairobi.

Large parts of Somalia have been carved up by rival militia forces that have developed autonomous regions that pay little, if any, heed to the weak central government.

However Shabaab Islamist insurgents are on the back foot, having fled a string of key towns ahead of a 17,000-strong African Union force, which is fighting alongside Somali government troops to wrest territory from the extremists.

Ethiopian troops are also battling the Shabaab in the southwest of Somalia.

Copyright © 2013 Shabelle Media Network. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.