US reopens diplomatic mission in Somalia after 28-year closure

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The US has established its first diplomatic presence in Somalia for nearly 30 years. The state department said the “historic event” reflected the progress the east African nation had made.
Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is heading the embassy in Mogadishu. Previously it had been based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Uganda was the first African country to deploy its forces in war torn Somalia 11 years ago-the BBC reported.
Operating under the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UPDF maintains that it takes the pride in being the vanguard of the current peace and security in Somalia.

Speaking at a symposium last year on Uganda’s role in stabilising Somalia, which was organized by the Makerere Law School, where he represented the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. David Muhoozi, Col. Paddy Ankunda, the director strategic communications of the UPDF said “Where no one else was coming up, we thought as a country and army we needed to take up the responsibility in the spirit of Pan Africanism because they are neighbours and brothers,”
The symposium held under the theme, ‘Saving Somalia? UPDF Intervention, Pan-Africanism and the cost for Uganda’, attracted students from the law school and academicians.
The US closed its embassy in Somalia in January 1991 amid fighting between rebels and the government and had to airlift out its ambassador and staff.

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Commenting on the latest move, state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement: “This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalising US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognising the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013.”
She added: “Our return demonstrates the United States’ commitment to further advance stability, democracy and economic development that are in the interest of both nations.”

Security has improved in Mogadishu recently, although al-Shabab rebels remain a threat.
Al-Shabab was forced out of the capital in August 2011 following an offensive spearheaded by African Union troops.
But it still has a strong presence in regions around the capital.

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