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US reopens embassy in Mogadishu after three decades

Thursday October 03 2019
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Aerial view of Somali capital Mogadishu in this picture taken in 2017. PHOTO | FRED OLUOCH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AFP

Mogadishu,

The United States said Wednesday it had re-opened an embassy in Somalia's capital, 28 years after it was shut as the country plunged into civil war, highlighting warming ties between the two nations.

Washington closed its embassy during the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre's military regime which ushered in decades of chaos, however diplomatic relations have strengthened in recent years.

"Today we reaffirm the relations between the American people and the Somali people, and our two nations," said Ambassador Donald Yamamoto in a statement.

"It is a significant and historic day that reflects Somalia's progress in recent years, and another step forward in regularising US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognising the federal government of Somalia in 2013."

A permanent diplomatic presence was established in Mogadishu in December 2018, however was operated out of Nairobi.

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The country continues to be wracked by an Islamist insurgency, and Al-Shabaab militants on Monday staged an attack on a military base that is a major launching site for US drone operations, as well as a European Union convoy.

US strikes in Somalia surged in April 2017, after President Donald Trump declared the south of the country an "area of active hostilities".

"The United States remains a strong partner to Somalia in its effort to build a stable, credible, and democratic country," said the statement.

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