The United States has re-opened its embassy in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, amid persisting threats from Islamist group al Shabaab.
The embassy was closed in January 1991 following widespread violence which accompanied the ousting of autocrat Mohamed Siad Barre from power by various warlords.
In a statement, the U.S. embassy to Somalia said the move was a milestone in the strengthening of relations between the two countries and would help advance stability and development in Somalia.
“It is a significant and historic day that reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years,” the U.S. ambassador to Somalia, Donald Yamamoto, was quoted as saying.
The embassy, he said, would act “to enhance cooperation, advance U.S. national strategic interests, and support our overall security, political, and economic development.”
Al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab group remains a potent threat to Somalia’s internationally recognised central government, frequently carrying out bomb and gun attacks the country’s military and other targets.
Al Shabaab says it is fighting to drive out of Somalia all foreign forces including the African Union AU-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force and then establish its own government run according to Islam’s sharia law.