On November 4, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman visited Mogadishu, Somalia to meet with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud, Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohammed Osman Jawari, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti, the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia, and leaders of Somalia’s civil society and business community. Under Secretary Sherman is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Somalia in more than twenty years, and her visit underscored the U.S. Government’s commitment to Somalia’s stabilization efforts.
Under Secretary Sherman welcomed the announcement by Somalia's Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon that he has named his new cabinet. Under Secretary Sherman noted that 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. Somalia's parliamentarians will soon meet to consider the new cabinet.
In her comments to senior Somali officials, Under Secretary Sherman stressed her conviction that Somalia is now a place of hope, not of despair. She congratulated the Somali President and Speaker of Parliament on the important political progress made in Somalia, including the August 20 formation of Parliament and September 10 election of President Hassan Sheikh. The Under Secretary affirmed the centrality of the Somali government and people in guiding international support to the country.
Under Secretary Sherman urged the Somali leadership to continue to consolidate gains by helping local governance structures emerge through community dialogue and reconciliation, rapidly providing services, drafting legislation to facilitate implementation of the provisional constitution adopted in August, and addressing al-Shabaab defectors and the charcoal stockpile in the port city of Kismayo.
The Under Secretary congratulated AMISOM Force Commander Gutti for AMISOM’s recent success in driving al-Shabaab out of strategically important population centers and acknowledged the courage and professionalism of the AMISOM forces in achieving these gains. Ambassador Sherman underscored the continued U.S. commitment to support AMISOM and the Somali National forces in their critically important responsibility of extending security throughout Somalia.
Under Secretary Sherman congratulated the Somali business community for its efforts to sustain the Somali economy during Somalia’s 20 years of civil conflict and civil society for its provision of services to the Somali people in the lack of a functioning government. The Under Secretary encouraged Somalia’s civil society and business community to continue giving robust voice to their constituencies in engaging the emerging governmental institutions and holding them accountable as the new government establishes itself and its priorities.