US expands visa restrictions for Somalia election spoilers

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a joint news conference with his German counterpart at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany June 23, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Somaliguardian) – The United States said on Thursday that it had expanded the number of Somali individuals subject to visa restrictions following Somalia government’s failure to conclude parliamentary elections on self-established deadline.

I am taking this action pursuant to a policy I announced on February 8, under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to restrict the issuance of visas for those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

We will continue to evaluate additional designations under this policy and other tools at our disposal to promote accountability and support the rapid conclusion of Somalia’s electoral process in a credible and transparent manner.”

Blinken said there are “continued credible reports of procedural irregularities” and journalists and opposition leaders “working to support democratic institutions and transparent processes have been targeted with harassment, intimidation, arrest, and violence”.

In an interview with local Goobjoog media on Monday, US ambassador to Somalia Larry Andre said his government would add more Somali leaders to its visa restriction list if the country again misses deadline for parliamentary polls. read more

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