Friday, January 18, 2013

Somali President Visits Washington

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud is visiting Washington where he met on 17 January 2013 with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.  During the visit, the United States formally recognized the government of Somalia.  He addressed a public audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for one hour and 23 minutes.  This event included a lengthy and frank question and answer session. 

In his remarks at CSIS, Mahamud expressed effusive praise for the support of the United States dating back to the humanitarian intervention in the early 1990s.  He singled out Turkey for its recent support to Somalia, citing Turkey's efforts above all others in helping Somalia get back on its feet. 

He addressed the role of neighbors Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya in Somalia.  He noted that Djibouti has always been a friend of Somalia.  Relations with Kenya date back only about 50 years but today Kenya is the "go to place" for Somalis.  He acknowledged that the 600 year plus relationship with Ethiopia has been marked by hate, conflict and violence.  He emphasized that it is time to reverse this history and called for the development of good relations with Ethiopia.  In talks with senior Ethiopian officials, Mahamud said Ethiopia has pledged to work for good relations with Somalia. 

Click here to watch the entire video of President Mahamud's remarks.

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