Conflict with Al-Shabaab takes center stage in Somali president’s talks with US Defense Secretary
Mogadishu, Somalia – The meeting between Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III in Djibouti was primarily focused on the ongoing operations against Al-Shabaab militants. The US reiterated its commitment to supporting the offensive against the Al-Qaeda-linked terror group.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was invited by Djiboutian President Omar Ismail Guelleh, who hosted the US Defense Secretary for strategic security discussions about the Horn of Africa region. Djibouti is home to the US Africa Command, which has played a crucial role in promoting peace and stability in various African nations.
During his official trip to Africa, Secretary Austin commended the Somali people for their resilience in the fight against Al-Shabaab militants. Clan mobilization has significantly contributed to the war against Al-Shabaab across the country in recent months.
“I had the opportunity to meet with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud during my visit to Djibouti, thanks to Djiboutian President Ismail Oguelleh. We discussed our joint efforts to counter Al-Shabaab and recognized the courage and sacrifice of the Somali people as we tackle the challenges ahead,” Austin stated.
The US has played a crucial role in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia by providing air surveillance support to the Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The US also trains and equips the Danab Special Forces.
Additionally, the lifting of the arms embargo, which has been imposed on Somalia for the past three decades, was discussed during the meeting. The embargo has made it difficult for Somalia to acquire modern weapons to combat the militants. Somalia has submitted a request to the United Nations Security Council, but it has not yet received approval.
“They discussed further strengthening the security partnership between Somalia and the US, supporting the ongoing offensive against international terrorism, and working towards lifting the long-standing arms embargo,” stated Villa Somalia in a press release.
Prior to the meeting with President Mohamud, Secretary Austin held talks with President Guelleh, focusing on bilateral defense cooperation and regional security issues. Djibouti has been providing support to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia in the fight against violent extremist organizations in the region.
Secretary Austin expressed gratitude to President Guelleh for his country’s leadership and the longstanding and effective security partnership between Djibouti and the United States. Djibouti is a key security partner of the US in the Horn of Africa.