Somalia continues to be plagued by serious problems, including a wide-spread hunger crisis, the continuing threat of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, and the on-going violence in Laascaanood.
But there is also good news, and much of it bodes well for Somalia’s future. Somalia’s authorities are close to securing an agreement that would significantly cut the country’s foreign debt from $5.2 billion to $600 million, according to the International Monetary Fund. There is a vigorous discourse on four proposals for a future electoral system proposed in May by the National Consultative Council. And after five failed rainy seasons, the monsoons have finally returned.
Finally, Operation Black Lion, launched in early August against Al-Shabaab, has seen several successes as Government forces dislodged the militants from Hiiraan, Middle Shabelle, and Mudug regions.
“The United States is encouraged by the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union’s ongoing efforts to advance peace and stability in Somalia and East Africa by addressing the threat from al-Shabaab,” Robert Wood, United States Alternative Representative to the United Nations.
“We welcome the progress made by Somali forces in freeing communities from al-Shabaab control in the Hiiraan region and encourage increased efforts to stabilize these liberated areas, with a particular focus on strengthening local governance.”
“United States is concerned, however, about recent security setbacks in the Galmadug region,” said Ambassador Wood. “These developments demonstrate the urgency of finalizing a security transition plan with feasible and resource-informed objectives, timelines, and support requirements.”
“The United States remains committed to supporting the efforts of Somalia and the AU to build up Somalia’s security sector capacity and stabilization efforts. We recognize the process requires improved international coordination and will be working with partners to adjust our approach to achieve these goals,” he said.
The rains have finally returned to Somalia, but the humanitarian situation there is still dire. “On the humanitarian front, we must all come together to address the dire impacts of Somalia’s severe drought,” said Ambassador Wood.
“The United States remains committed to helping Somalia address this crisis, including through the provision of more than $750 million in humanitarian assistance this year. We are proud to be the largest humanitarian donor to Somalia,” he said.
“The United States strongly supports the Somali people, and remains committed to helping advance democracy, peace, and stability,” said Ambassador Wood. “We will continue to work with Somalia and international partners to build a brighter future for the Somali people.”