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US, Somalia launch new era of diplomatic ties

Published on Jan 18, 2013 6:58 AM
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) speaks as Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during a news conference on Jan 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) and Somalia on Thursday launched a new era of diplomatic relations, as Washington recognised the African nation's government for the first time since 1991.

"Today is a milestone. It is not the end of the journey, but it is an important milestone towards that end," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said after talks with new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

"For the first time since 1991, the US is recognising the government of Somalia," she said, adding Washington now wanted "an open, transparent dialogue about what more we can do to help the people of Somalia realise their own dream."

The move turns the page on the darkest chapter in ties between the two nations, when in 1993 Americans were anguished by scenes of US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by a mob after Somali militants shot down two Black Hawk helicopters. Eighteen Americans died, and 80 were wounded.

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