News / Africa

Senior US Diplomat Sees Hope in Somalia

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 1, 2011.
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 1, 2011.
Gabe Joselow
U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman has praised as “extraordinary” the work Somalia’s new parliament is doing to rebuild the country under difficult circumstances.  She commented following a visit to Mogadishu that coincided with the appointment of Somalia’s first female foreign minister.

Ambassador Sherman, the third-highest ranking official in the State Department, met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and other top members of the Somali government Sunday during her visit to the capital.

She is the most senior American official to travel to Somalia in more than 20 years.

Speaking Monday to students and reporters at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Sherman praised the work being done by the new Somali government, saying the country is now seen as a place of hope and not despair.

“To create a democracy out of virtually nothing - the parliament is meeting in a parking lot - is truly extraordinary, truly extraordinary,” said Sherman.

Somalia’s parliament building was destroyed during years of civil war that followed the ousting of former president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and is currently being repaired.

The new parliament was formed in August following a years-long political transition.

Sherman noted that security remains a pressing concern for the new government, which is working with African Union forces to oust the al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab from its last remaining strongholds.

"And the president and the speaker of the parliament with whom I also met and civil society and entrepreneurs are working exceedingly hard to do a very difficult, hopefully not impossible job, in trying to get security, stability, jobs, services, a financial system together fast enough before the darkness - better known as al-Shabab or others - could reemerge,” she stated.

In a statement, Sherman also welcomed the prime minister's appointment of Somalia's new Cabinet, which includes the country's first female foreign minister.

Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam, who comes from Puntland and once tried unsuccessfully to run for president of the autonomous region, told VOA's Somali service she is very “proud and grateful” to be part of a new era for Somali women.

She said her role will be to “do something about the image of Somalia,” which she says has been damaged by civil war and mayhem.

The 10-member Cabinet includes another female politician, Maryan Qasim Ahmed, selected as the minister for development and social affairs.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid