US: Obama nominates first US Ambassador to Somalia in 24 years

New York, US (PANA) - US President Barack Obama has nominated the first US
ambassador to Somalia in 24 years, a US State Department said in a statement
on Wednesday.

The statement sent to PANA in New York named the new envoy as Ms. Katherine
Simonds Dhanani, a US Foreign Service veteran who has previously served in
five other African countries in various capacities.

It said that Dhanani will be based in neighboring Kenya until the situation in
Somalia stabilizes to allow the US embassy in Mogadishu to reopen.

Observing that the nomination was a sign of "deepening relationship" between Somalia and the US, State Department spokesperson, Ms. Jen Psaki,said: "Somalia has considerable work ahead to complete its transition to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation."

Psaki, however, said Ms. Dhanani’s nomination requires senate confirmation. She is currently the Director of the Office of Regional and Security Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs in the US Department of State, a position she has held since 2013.

The spokesperson also said the US was committed to supporting Somalia on this
journey as a "steadfast partner."

"As security conditions permit, we look forward to increasing our diplomatic
presence in Somalia and eventually reopening the US Embassy in Mogadishu,"
Ms. Psaki said.

Ms. Dhanani had served in some African countries, including as Deputy Chief of
Mission at the US Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe from 2007 to 2010 as well as at
the US Embassy in Libreville, Gabon from 2005 to 2007.

Additionally, she was the Political and Economic Section Chief at the US Embassy
in Lusaka, Zambia from 2002 to 2005 and Economic Section Chief at the US
Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo from 1999 to 2002.

Dhanani also served as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs
at the Department of State, and as Consular Officer at the US Embassy in Brazzaville,
Republic of Congo.

The US Embassy in Mogadishu closed in 1991 when Somalia’s government
collapsed as civil war ensued.

PANA recalls that two years ago, the US recognized the new UN-backed Somali
government which continues to battle al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab terrorist group.
-0- PANA AA/AR  25Feb2015

25 february 2015 19:44:39




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