WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday recognized the government of Somalia, a move unseen since 1991.
"I am delighted to announce that for the first time since 1991, the United States is recognizing the government of Somalia," the top American envoy told reporters after meeting with new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the State Department.
She noted that for the first time in two decades, Somalia has a "representative government" in place with a new president, a new parliament, a new prime minister and a new constitution after al- Shabaab militants were driven out of major cities in the country due to joint regional and international efforts.
"We believe strongly that the successful conclusion of Somalia' s political transition with a new president, a prime minister, a parliament, a constitution marks the beginning of a new era of Somali governance," she said.
"So we have moved into a normal sovereign nation to sovereign nation position, and we have moved into an era where we're going to be a good partner, a steadfast partner to Somalia as Somalia makes the decisions for its own future," she added. "Today is a milestone, it is not the end of the journey, but it is an important milestone towards that end."
Somalia's central government collapsed in 1991 when a civil war broke out, in which al-Shabaab once held all of south-central Somalia including the capital city of Mogadishu.
The Somali military and African Union troops wrested back the capital in August 2011 and other major cities afterwards, and in August 2012, the federal parliament was inaugurated, ushering in the federal government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war.
Mohamud said the Somali government is working for a country " that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors where its citizens can go about their daily lives in safety, provided their families with a confidence and gratefulness."