This morning, President Obama joined a meeting between Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in the Roosevelt Room. Following the meeting, the Somali President met with Secretary of State Clinton, who announced formal U.S. recognition of his government as the Government of Somalia. This is the first time the United States has recognized a Somali government since 1991.
The President congratulated Hassan Sheikh on his election last September and the establishment of the first permanent, representative government in Somalia in two decades. The President noted the impressive security and political gains over the past year in Somalia. He acknowledged the many challenges facing Somalia but expressed optimism about Somalia’s future, and reaffirmed his commitment to work in partnership with the new Somali government to promote peace and security, improve fiscal management, and increase the provision of social services. The President urged President Hassan Sheikh to seize this unique opportunity to turn the page on two decades of civil strife in Somalia by building on the recent progress and working closely with regional and international partners to improve the lives of all Somalis. A photo of the meeting can be found here.