by Ambassador Larry André, Jr.
Monday January 16, 2023
one year serving as the United States Ambassador to Somalia, I recently
concluded individual introductory meetings with all Federal Government of
Somalia ministers. I have also met all Federal
Member State presidents, Somaliland’s president and cabinet ministers, and
members and leaders of the federal parliament.
I shared with these senior leaders the United States government’s top
goals in Somalia, which align closely with the goals of the Government of Somalia
at the federal and state levels. Our two
nations have shared interests, which lead to shared goals. As I learned about each federal ministry’s
and state government’s ambitious plans, my confidence in Somalia’s brighter
purpose of Somalia’s embassy in Washington is to advance Somalia’s
interests. The purpose of the United
States embassy in Mogadishu is to advance United States’ interests. The work of both embassies is aided by the
fact that our countries’ interests mostly coincide. The United States and Somalia coordinate joint
efforts to achieve our shared goals.
how do we conduct diplomacy?
the United States Ambassador, I am the personal representative of United States
President Joseph Biden to Somalia President Hasan Sheikh Mohamud. This is the president-to-president
level. When I meet with Somalia citizens
and hear their views, their concerns, and their hopes, I pass on what I learn
through reporting that goes to President Biden’s government, including the
White House. Those perspectives help inform
our policy and programs.
embassy team members represent various parts of the United States
government. They work with their
counterparts in various Somali ministries at the federal and state levels. This is the government-to-government
we communicate with Somalia’s people, such as through this message. In conversations with media, educators, and
civil society – including those on society’s margins – we deepen our
understanding of Somalia and share our American story. Our exchanges and online programs support
entrepreneurs, English language students, community leaders, and journalists to
further develop their skills. This is
the people-to-people level of diplomacy.
am asked about our work with the Federal Member States and Somaliland. My team and I maintain contact with each of
the Federal Member States and with Somaliland.
Before we undertake programs anywhere in Somalia, whether related to security,
humanitarian affairs, economic development, or government services, we first coordinate
with the Federal Government of Somalia.
In my office, I keep copies of two documents: the 2012 Provisional
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the 1961 Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
consult these documents to ensure our work to advance shared goals is appropriate. Once Somalia’s leaders and institutions agree
on a final constitution, then we will review that future document for the same
what are our goals in Somalia?
Security for the United States and Somalia: Enhance security coordination among
Somali forces and international partners; Assist Somali security forces to
protect Somalis from terrorist attacks, insurgency, and violent crime.
to Somalis' Humanitarian Needs and Support Inclusive, Resilient Growth: Provide life-saving aid while building
resilience; Support reforms that enable full debt relief, spur private
sector-led growth, and reduce financial crimes.
with Somalia's Federal and State Governments to Promote Peace through Effective
governance and public services for threatened and recently freed communities;
Expand access to health and education services; Promote stable, effective,
democratic governance via reconciliation and finalization of Somalia’s
have traveled to Baidoa, Garowe, Hargeisa, Kismayo, as well as Nairobi and Minneapolis
to discuss these goals. I have heard the
views of Somalia citizens who have lived much of their lives in other
countries, and the views of those who never left Somalia. I have listened to older Somalis who describe
their country prior to state collapse in 1991 and younger Somalis born years after
that event. I have heard Somalis express
diverse political views; a range of reflections on clan, regional, and national
identity; and passionate, ambitious aspirations for their country and
themselves. What do all these diverse voices have in common? They
want Somalia to move forward, and they want the United States to help.
colleagues and I admire the progress achieved in recent months by Somalia’s people
and their leaders at the federal and state levels in advancing our shared goals. We pledge to continue our support and play
our role in the United States-Somalia partnership. This is a time of great hope for Somalia’s
full revival. I respect the dynamism,
energy, and determination so characteristic of Somali culture. I am grateful to all my Somali friends who
have taught me so much.
Ambassador Larry André, Jr.
André, Jr. is the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Federal
Republic of Somalia