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  • A man holds up an American flag and a woman holds a Somali flag in Mogadishu, Somalia, in January 2013.

    A man holds up an American flag and a woman holds a Somali flag in Mogadishu, Somalia, in January 2013. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 6 December 2018

The country, for years, has been plagued by attacks from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab armed group, famine and maritime piracy.

According to the U.S. State Department, for the first time since 1991, the country has reestablished diplomatic ties with Somalia.

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"This historic event reflects Somalia's progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalizing U.S. diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing the federal government of Somalia in 2013," Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement. 

The United States military remained in the African Horn country but the Mogadishu-based embassy was shuttered three decades ago, at the beginning of the civil war, which started early January 1991 after the dictatorship of Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.

"Our return demonstrates the United States's commitment to further advance stability, democracy, and economic development that are in the interest of both nations," Nauert explained.

The country, for years, has been plagued by attacks from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab armed group, famine, and maritime piracy.

"Ambassador Donald Yamamoto and his team look forward to working closely with the people of the Somali federal government to strengthen our already strong bilateral relationship," the spokeswoman added.

Wednesday Somali forces, with the support of U.S. troops, raided two al-Shabaab checkpoints, Somali intelligence officials said, adding that two successful airstrikes were carried out overnight.

Over the years, multiple U.S.-backed, United Nations-sanctioned air attacks have managed to somewhat repel the insurgent group, but al-Shabaab still maintains a presence in the country.

Notably, in 1993, United States military forces engaged rebel forces in an offensive, which subsequently inspired the book and film "Black Hawk Down."

The new U.S. mission will not be a full embassy. The U.S. diplomatic mission for Somalia had been attached to the country’s embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.


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