US says respects Somalia’s territorial unity amid Somaliland secession push

Larry Andre

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The United States respects the territorial unity of Somalia under a policy it adopted in 1960 amid a secession push by Somaliland, US ambassador Larry Andre said on Tuesday, days after the break-away region’s President returned to rapturous welcome from his first visit to Washington.

In an interview with VOA Somali, Andre said the US government sticks to to its “single Somalia policy” which had been introduced a year before his birth in 1960 soon after the Horn of Africa nation gained its independence.

Earlier, the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to increase engagement with Somaliland on issues of mutual diplomatic, security and economic interests, a move hailed by the self-proclaimed state’s President Muse Bihi Abdi. read more

We write to urge the Biden Adminstration to consider increasing and deepening engagement with Somaliland on issues of mutual diplomatic, economic, and security interests,” the committee said in a letter.

Somaliland’s geo-strategic location on the Gulf of Aden, constant support for democracy, cooperation on countering terrorism, piracy, and other security threats in the region, and relations with Taiwan, and growing economic potential warrants that the United States explore additional opportunities to partner with Somaliland.”

Andre denied earlier this month an assertion made by Somaliland Minister of Information Minister Saleban Ali Kore that Bihi had received an official invitation from the United States and said he was visiting Washington at “his initiative”. read more

In comments on Somalia’s elections, the ambassador suggested that the electoral board move ahead with the swearing-in of elected MPs rather than wait for the filling of 16 disputed parliament seats, whose votes have been due to be held in the town of Garbaharey.

US ambassador to Somalia’s condemned recent Al-Shabaab attack on the heavily-fortified Halane base in Mogadishu, which is home to several diplomatic missions including those of the United States, the United Nations and the United Kingdom. Militants claimed killing 17 foreigners, including “four senior western officials”, an assertion yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Our reaction is that we condemn those who seek to murder and destroy. They are stopping the revival of Somalia and they’re taking many lives in doing so,” the ambassador said.

He added that mortar shells struck areas near US embassy compound, UN office and other key installations inside the targeted base.

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