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Somalia: First U.S. Ambassador since 1991 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Kenya Defence Forces attend prayers as they pay their respects to the Kenyan soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), who were killed in El Adde during an attack, at a memorial mass at the Moi Barracks in Eldoret, January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Cairo- Stephen Schwartz has commenced his mission as first U.S. ambassador to Somalia since 1991. Somali Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the appointment of Schwartz is an evidence of the further strengthening of relations between Somalia and the U.S. It is also the clearest sign that Somalia has turned the corner towards stability and progress.

Ambassador Stephen Schwartz met on Tuesday Foreign Affairs Minister Abdisalam Omar Hadliye and they discussed possible ways to strengthen Somalia-U.S. relations, increase U.S. support to Somalia and cooperate jointly in fields of politics, security and economy.

In 2015, the U.S. announced bringing back its diplomatic mission to Somalia, a first step of its kind to restore relations since Washington’s withdrawal from the country in the beginning of nineties.

Somalia suffers security problems and the government is trying to take control over the country.

U.S. shut its embassy in Somalia in 1991 when a civil war raged there. U.S. army withdrew after a U.S. helicopter was toppled and 18 soldiers were killed in 1993. The last U.S. soldier to leave Somalia was in 1994.

In the beginning of 2013, U.S. acknowledged Somalia once again in which the U.S. foreign minister carried out a sudden visit to Somalia to rebuild diplomatic relations. Days later, Washington’s nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Somalia withdrew for personal reasons.

Security bodies in Somalia announced what they described as “strict procedures against citizens who did not obtain an identity card yet”. These preparations fall under the preparation for parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled end of August. These procedures aim to reinforce security and stability in the capital Mogadishu, said security sourcess.