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Boosting U.S. Ties With Somalis

A Somali government soldier takes aim during clashes with Islamist insurgents in southern Mogadishu's Taleh neighborhood, Somalia, 15 Oct 2010.

The crisis in Somalia is at once a national, regional and global problem.

With the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia continuing to come under attack by insurgents linked to international terrorist groups, the United States continues to fully support the TFG while also moving to strengthen relations with local leaders in other regions of the country. Aid workers and diplomats will soon be deployed to Somaliland and Puntland in northern Somalia to help with security and development projects there, expanding our commitment to the Somali people in their time of need.

The move, announced last month following meetings at the United Nations in New York, begins a 2-track U.S. aid effort. Since early 2009, we have actively aided the Transitional Federal Government to prevent its overthrow by al Shabaab insurgents and allow it to move the nation toward peace and stability under the Djibouti Peace Process. The U.S. now will also aid and encourage regional authorities so they are able to bolster the national government. Areas of engagement will be security, water, agriculture, health, education and other development initiatives.

The crisis in Somalia is at once a national, regional and global problem. The crisis has grown over 2 decades, producing international piracy in the waters off the Somali coast, foreign fighters joining the insurgents and terrorist groups adding fuel to the fire. Amid the turmoil, Puntland and Somaliland have been zones of relative political and civil stability, and with new engagement their leaders will be better able to govern and provide services to their people, as well as provide a bulwark against extremism in a country that already has endured far too much.