Somali embassy in Washington re-opens after 24 years

Approximately 24 years ago, May 8, 1991, the Somali flag in Washington D.C came down as the embassy ceased operations barely four months after the U.S embassy closed shop in Mogadishu as the Horn of Africa nation descended into a bitter civil war.

In January 5, 1991, 281 American and foreign diplomats and civilians were evacuated by helicopter from the embassy, Silica Mareykanka (as it was referred to) in Mogadishu’s Medina district.

The United States did not however formally severe diplomatic relations with Somalia.

Fast forward November 18, 2015 and the five white star flag went up at the U.S centre of power, Washington D.C paving way for the resumption of full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Abdusalam Omer and Somali ambassador to the U.S Ahmed Issa Awad  yesterday joined the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield in the historic opening of the embassy.

Thomas-Greenfield said  the re-opening of the embassy was yet another step towards normalizing the U.S.-Somali relationship, including official recognition of the Somali government in January 2013.

She added the welcoming of the first Somali Ambassador to Washington in July 2014, and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry’s historic visit to Mogadishu in May 2015 signified U.S intentions to restore full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The US Mission to Somalia, based in Nairobi commenced operations in September this year headed by a Chargé d’Affaires with the State Department indicating the status will remain until the president appoints a substantive ambassador.

The United States formally recognized the new Somali government on January 17, 2013 marking the start of efforts to rebuild diplomatic relations.




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