Somali Foreign Minister headed to Washington amidst political turmoil

Somali Foreign Minister headed to Washington amidst political turmoil
facebook sharing buttonA credible source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Mohamed Abdirizak is expected to be in Washington for high-level talks with the US State Department about the ongoing political crisis in Somalia. Abdirizak will likely sit down with Jeffrey Feltman, the newly appointed US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

The source said that Mohamed Abdirizak also plans to sit down with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

HOL was reached out to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for comment but could not get a response. 

The Americans have been firm in their objection to the Federal Government of Somalia’s term extension and said they would only support the September 17 agreement.

The US State Department said that it was “gravely concerned” on Monday about the violence in Somalia’s capital this weekend and called for all parties to exercise restraint and called for dialogue and consensus. The US warned that ‘all available tools’ – including sanctions and visa restrictions – are on the table to respond to political spoilers.

Mogadishu was rocked by violence this Sunday as clashes between forces loyal to the president and rival units backing his opposition. Locals described the heavy gunfire as among the most intense fighting in Mogadishu they’ve witnessed in years. The conflict has led to widespread displacement in the neighbourhoods where the action was concentrated.

Mogadishu (HOL) – Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister is expected to travel to Washington this week to meet officials from the US State Department, including the new American special envoy for the Horn of Africa.

The Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) echoed a similar sentiment of dissatisfaction with Somalia’s government this week. Four-Star Army General Stephen Townsend said that the ‘extra-constitutional’ term extension had overtaken Al-Shabaab as the biggest obstacle to security in Somalia.

The Foreign Minister’s travel plans come after it was revealed that Somalia’s federal government hired a US lobbying firm in early April to facilitate a US Congressional delegation to Somalia.

Somalia’s ambassador to Washington, Ali Sharif Ahmed, signed a six-month contract for $150,000 to New Jersey-based lobbying firm LFA Holdings. LFA and the Somali Embassy signed the letter of agreement three days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement calling for Somalia to hold transparent and inclusive elections “immediately.”

It was also revealed that LFA had conducted lobbying activities for the  Democratic of the Republic of Congo Embassy in the US, including organizing meetings for President Felix Tshisekedi when he visited Washington in April 2019. Sources


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