WASHINGTON (AP) – The International Monetary Fund announced Friday that it is recognizing Somalia’s new government after a 22-year break in relations with the once-chaotic country, part of a general push by the United States, United Nations and the West toward encouraging rehabilitation there.
The U.S. formally recognized the African nation’s new government in January _ the first time the U.S. had recognized a Somali government since 1991, when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Siad Barre and then turned on one another.
The U.N. Security Council in March voted unanimously to partially suspend an arms embargo on Somalia for 12 months for military equipment intended solely to develop the country’s security forces and provide security for the Somali people.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama cleared the way for the U.S. to arm and train Somali forces.
The International Monetary Fund on Friday announced it was recognizing the Somali government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office last September.
The move will allow the IMF to offer Somalia technical assistance and policy advice. But the IMF said Somalia will not be able to borrow IMF funds until it repays some $352 million in arrears that it owes the agency.
A relative peace has returned to Somalia’s war-battered capital of Mogadishu since African Union forces ousted al-Shabab – a militant group loosely associated with al-Qaida – from the city over 18 months ago. But al-Shabab rebels are not yet defeated, and the U.S. remains concerned about the threat the group could pose to the region’s stability.
Associated Press writer Peter James Spielmann contributed to this story from New York.
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