Somalia: U.S. 'Disappointed' With Interim Govt

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson
15 March 2011

Washington, DC — The United States government has expressed its "disappointment" with the lack of political progress made by Somalia's interim government, and with the country's parliament for recently extending its term unilaterally.

Good military progress had been made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Johnnie Carson, told AllAfrica in an exclusive interview.

"One can no longer say, derisively, that only six or seven city blocks are controlled by Amisom forces. Amisom now controls 60 to 70 percent   of Mogadishu and continues to make serious and significant headway against Shabaab forces [Somali insurgents] in the area."

But, Carson continued, the military progress has not been matched by similar political progress on the part of the country's Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The TFG "must continue to reach out and become more inclusive and representative of all of Somalia's important clans and subclans and regional groups," he said.

"It must look for ways to bring in and integrate and collaborate with the forces that are fighting against extremism and al-Shabaab. It must be able to deliver services and assistance to the people who need it. Where Amisom makes progress in the city, the TFG must also be able to make progress in delivering services."

He added that the U.S. was disappointed that the Somali parliament unilaterally extended its mandate for three years.

"This is not helpful. It is something that should have been the source of discussion and approval by the people of Somalia. It is also important that the Parliament seek the endorsement and support of its key partners before it takes such action."

He said the parliament should revisit its decision and reduce the extension of its term of office to "a more acceptable period of time."

Carson also said the U.S. was expanding contacts with the breakaway governments in the areas of Somaliland and Puntland, and saw those – especially the Puntland administration – as partners in dealing with piracy.

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