News / Africa

US, Somalia Renew Diplomatic Ties After 20 Years

US and Somalia Renew Diplomatic Ties After 20 Yearsi
January 18, 2013 2:01 AM
The United States and Somalia have restored diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 20 years. The move allows Somalia's new leaders to regain international assistance as they fight al-Qaida affiliated terrorists. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
US and Somalia Renew Diplomatic Ties After 20 Years
The United States and Somalia have restored diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 20 years. The move allows Somalia's new leaders to regain international assistance as they fight al-Qaida affiliated terrorists.

African peacekeepers are patrolling the streets of Mogadishu, helping secure the capital for a new government bent on overcoming decades of chaos after the collapse of Siad Barre's rule in 1991.

At the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud marked the restoration of formal ties. President Mohamud said it's the start of a new era.

"Somalia is emerging from a very long, difficult period. And we are now moving away from instability, extremism, and piracy to an era of peace and development," Mohamud said.

Secretary Clinton called the occasion a testimony to Somali determination.

"The people and leaders of Somalia have fought and sacrificed to bring greater stability, security, and peace to their nation. There is still a long way to go and many challenges to confront. But we have seen a new foundation for that better future," Clinton said.

As President Mohamud's government restores services, including education, health care, and public safety, Somali refugees are beginning to return home from camps in Kenya.

Forces loyal to the new government fought alongside African peacekeepers to drive back Islamist militants of the al-Shabab group.

For now, President Mohamud still relies heavily on African peacekeepers to keep al-Shabab at bay.

But Secretary Clinton said the international community will continue to back efforts to combat the al-Qaida affiliates.

"The terrorists, as we have learned once again in the last days, are not resting.  And neither will we.  We will be very clear-eyed and realistic about the threat they continue to pose," she said.

Jennifer Cooke, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says President Mohamud faces serious challenges.

"He's still working within a political and a security context that is going to be extremely difficult.  Yes, Shabab is being pushed out of some of the big areas.  But Shabab doesn't need to do a whole lot to disrupt things in a big way in Mogadishu," Cooke said.

Cooke says President Mohamud's government is untainted by the corruption of its predecessors, but he must still navigate the factionalism and clan patronage of Somali politics.

"He is an individual working within a political context.  And so although there is an opportunity here, there is a lot that he has to do within a very narrow time frame to establish himself, his credibility, and the credibility of the institutions that he works within," Cooke said.

Restoring diplomatic ties means Somalia can establish new relationships with U.S. development agencies and with international financial institutions, including the World Bank.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ann Shannon from: Portland, OR
January 18, 2013 1:14 AM
This was an opportunity missed to emphasize the imperative that the government protect women, all women, from sexual predators. It was only a week ago that a journalist reporting on the gang rape of a woman in an IDP (internally displaced person) camp by government soldiers was arrested, along with the rape victim and the intermediary who set up the interview. The rape victim was severely beaten until she retracted her story before being released when her husband took her place in custody. Neither the journalist nor the intermediary have been allowed access to attorneys. A new government seeking international acceptance MUST face condemnation for prosecuting rape victims and journalists who uncover abuse while affording the rapists impunity! Shame on Secretary Clinton.
In Response

by: Kate Ibraham from: Canada,Toronto
January 18, 2013 11:24 AM
It is an opprtunity missed, Somalia is not peaceful not on the track either. Look at what happened to the French hostage.. What is going on I wonder , it looks like a political stage...

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs