The Somali President’s Meeting with US Defense Secretary Focuses on Confronting the Al-Shabaab Threat
In Djibouti, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III met to discuss the ongoing operations against Al-Shabaab militants. The US expressed its commitment to support the offensive against the terror group, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was invited to Djibouti by President Omar Ismail Guelleh, where they engaged in strategic security talks regarding the Horn of Africa region. Djibouti is home to the US Africa Command, a force that has played a vital role in promoting peace and stability in various African nations.
During his official visit to Africa, Secretary Austin commended the resilience of the Somali people in their fight against Al-Shabaab militants. Clan mobilization has significantly contributed to the ongoing war against the group nationwide.
Secretary Austin stated, “I met 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 acknowledged the bravery and sacrifices made by the Somali people as we work together to overcome the challenges ahead.”
The US has played a pivotal role in combating Al-Shabaab in Somalia, providing air surveillance and support to the Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). Additionally, the US offers training and equipment to the Danab Special Forces.
The talks also revolved around the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on Somalia for the past three decades. This embargo has hindered the country’s ability to procure modern weapons for combating the militants. Somalia has requested the United Nations Security Council to lift the embargo, but a decision is yet to be made.
“They discussed ways to strengthen the Somalia-US security partnership, support ongoing efforts against international terrorism, and work towards lifting the long-standing arms embargo,” stated Villa Somalia in a press release.
Secretary Austin expressed gratitude to President Guelleh for Djibouti’s leadership and the longstanding, effective security partnership between the two nations. Djibouti plays a significant role as a security partner for the US in the Horn of Africa.