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U.S. supportive of Somali leaders

Oct. 11, 2012 at 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. government looks forward to working with the new Somali prime minister as he works to establish a sound political base, the U.S. State Department said.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appointed Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as the country's prime minister last week.

Mohamud was elected in September along with some parliamentary leaders. Prior to last month, there hadn't been an effective central government in Mogadishu since the early 1990s.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Washington was eager to see who the prime minister would select for new Cabinet leaders to present to the legislative assembly.

"The United States continues to stand with the Somali people as they stabilize and rebuild their country and looks forward to hearing from the new government how we can best work together in partnership for the benefit of Somalia and the region," she said in a statement.

Kismayo, one of the remaining strongholds of al-Shabaab in Somalia, fell to pro-government forces last week. In a recent briefing from Nairobi, Augustine Mahiga, U.N. special envoy for Somalia, said the declining influence of al-Shabaab didn't mean the threat was eliminated, however.

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