Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday in Djiboutiç APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.
They discussed a number of issues, including the fight against the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab and the Somalia-US security partnership as well as supporting Mogadishu’s campaign to lift an arms embargo on Somalia.
The embargo was imposed by the UN Security Council in early 1992 following the collapse of Somalia’s military regime.
“They discussed further enhancing the Somalia-U.S. security partnership, support for the ongoing offensive against international terrorism, and efforts towards lifting the decades-long arms embargo,” the Somali presidency said in a brief statement posted on X after the meeting.
Marking his first trip to Africa as defense secretary, Austin will also visit Kenya and Angola to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to the region and discuss “African-led solutions to mutual security challenges and underscore the importance of our partnerships on the continent,” he said in a statement after his arrival in Djibouti.
His meeting with Mohamud comes after the country suffered military setbacks in its fight against al-Shabaab after the terrorist group launched a deadly attack last month on an army camp in the town of Cowsweyne, resulting in a hasty military retreat from front lines.