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Seeking Somali Stability


Seeking Somali Stability

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Top U.S. officials are conducting a review of the nation's strategy for crafting a comprehensive solution to the ongoing crisis in Somalia. The aim is to help the Somali people and their Transitional Federal Government achieve stability, political reconciliation and economic growth.

The newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, told Congress recently that the Obama administration took up the review of U.S. policy toward Somalia as one of its top priorities in the region. Additional goals in the troubled East African nation are eliminating terrorist threats, addressing the dire humanitarian situation, and eliminating the pirates preying on shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Somalia has lacked a stable, effective government since 1991 when former President Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in a coup d'etat. The situation has worsened in recent months as a loose coalition of militant extremists and some foreign fighters have attacked forces of the Transitional Federal Government and other moderates in the capital Mogadishu and other areas of the country. The collapse of the Transitional Federal Government, or TFG, would be detrimental to the long-term stability of both Somalia and the region.

To ensure that the developing U.S. strategy is a coordinated effort, several government agencies are working together on it, including the Departments of State, Defense and the Agency for International Development. Assistant Secretary Carson said officials hope to see the review completed and a plan to go forward in the next month or so.

In the mean time, the U.S. is making substantial contributions in humanitarian aid support for the African Mission in Somalia, whose Ugandan and Burundian peacekeeping troops have been deployed there since 2007, and to train and equip TFG security forces.

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