U.S. Pushes for Continuation of UN Political Office in Somalia

Published: June 1, 2024

MOGADISHU, Somalia (HORSEED MEDIA) – The United States is advocating for the continuation of the United Nations political office in Somalia, according to remarks from the U.S. State Department following talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

The State Department spokesperson said Blinken and Mohamud discussed the “continuation” of the UN mission during their meeting, suggesting the U.S. wants to keep the office operational despite Somalia’s recent request for its termination.

Last month, Somalia called for the shuttering of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the UN’s political office in the country’s capital Mogadishu. However, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded by temporarily appointing veteran American diplomat James Swan as his envoy to Somalia.

The discord over UNSOM’s status came amidst simmering regional tensions, which Saturday’s State Department remarks indicated were also a topic of discussion between the U.S. and Somali leaders. The spokesperson said Blinken emphasized the “need to reduce regional tensions” with Mohamud, an apparent reference to the diplomatic rift between Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia over a recent military base cooperation agreement.

The talks between Blinken and Mohamud also covered planning for the post-2024 scenario when the African Union military mission in Somalia, currently known as ATMIS, will transfer security responsibilities to Somali forces amid the fight against al-Shabab militants.