Top US official visits Somalia
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (L) meets with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at Mogadishu's Adan Abdule airport on November 4, 2012. AFP
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman on Sunday visited Somalia and said the country had now become the place of hope and not despair.
She is highest ranking US official to visit Somalia in more than 20 years, underscoring Washington's commitment to Somalia's stabilisation efforts.
According to a statement released by the US Department of State, Ms Sherman urged the Somali leadership to continue to consolidate gains by helping local governance structures emerge through community dialogue and reconciliation.
She further called on Somali leadership to quickly draft legislation to facilitate the implementation of the provisional constitution adopted in August, and address Al-Shabaab defectors and the charcoal stockpile in the port city of Kismayu.
Ms Sherman met with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti, and congratulated the force on its recent success in driving Al-Shabaab out of the important population centres.
She further congratulated Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud and Speaker of Parliament Osman Jawari during their meeting on the political progress made in their country, including the August 20 formation of Parliament and September 10 election of the president.
Speaking to journalists soon after the meeting that was held at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport, the Somali President said there was a need for closer ties with the US in order to boost stabilisation of the country and enhance economic development.
Commenting on the country’s new Cabinet, Ms Sherman said: “The United States is pleased to see that the new Cabinet includes two women, which is a positive reflection of the important role women play in all aspects of Somali life.”
According to the statement, she further congratulated the Somali business community for its efforts to sustain the economy during the 20 years of civil conflict, and the civil society for its provision of services to the people in the absence of a functioning government.
Source: African Review