Somali President hails strong ties and special relationship with US on landmark visit to Mogadishu

14 December 2013 – His Excellency President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud today paid tribute to the special relationship with the US as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield made a landmark visit to Mogadishu. “Your visit today is an important indication of just how far we have come, the President said. Only recently the idea of a United States Assistant Secretary of State coming to Mogadishu would have been unthinkable. Two years ago this was a city at war with itself. Today our recovery gains strength with every day.The President held meeting with Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield with wide-ranging discussions focusing on security, the recent political appointment of a new Prime Minister, humanitarian challenges, human rights, political reconciliation, the national education programme, public financial management reform and economic recovery. The President also outlined the progress Somalia has made during the past year and the President’s vision for the next stage of the nation’s recovery as the government works towards a new constitution and national elections in 2016. The President said too often people forgot how far Somala had come in such a short time and reminded Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield of the UN’s Special Representative to the Secretary General, Nick Kay’s briefing to the Security Council on 10 December in which he said, None of the crunches and crises that Somalia has faced in the last three months has turned out as bad as prophets of doom predicted.” The President said: Today I express my sincere gratitude to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield and the United States government for its solid support to Somalia and its ongoing commitment to our recovery. Our armed forces depend on foreign donors and the military’s role is absolutely fundamental in the fight to rid Somalia of the terrorists of Al Shabaab as well as pirates. AMISOM’s remarkable success in Somalia likewise relies on robust international support. We cannot win this fight alone.Young men and women need to learn that rather than having a religious duty to follow Al Shabaab, they have a duty to reject them,” the President said. The recent fatwa against Al Shabaab from respected religious leaders is a key part of raising awareness of the perils of extremism. We must continue to educate our youth to prepare them for the challenges of the future. The government’s Go-to-School campaign, supported by the UN, has an ambitious aim to send one million children to school within three years.” The President praised the special relationship with the US and thanked Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield for her government’s support to Somalia. We are emerging from the ashes of war and are steadily building a new nation that can hold its head high in the world. The challenges we face are formidable, which is why we face them with courage and resilience. We cannot overcome our many difficulties alone which is why I thank you for standing with us shoulder to shoulder.

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