U.S. stands by Somalian reforms

May 8, 2013 at 9:18 AM

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. assistance to Somalia aims to help ensure a stable government is able to prevent terrorists from establishing a safe haven, the U.S. State Department said.

British and U.S. officials said they recognized that fundamental political gains were made in Somalia, through more help was needed from the international community to ensure long-term stability.

The British government said Somalia is at a crossroads where al-Shabaab threatens national security and the lack of a constitution jeopardizes political gains.

"Millions still live in internally displaced persons and refugee camps," the British government said in a statement. "The country lacks developed government structures, schools, hospitals, sanitation and other basic services."

The State Department said it was a supporter of Somalia's efforts to establish a stable government, address humanitarian issues and prevent the country from falling into the hands of terrorists.

"Thanks to the hard-won successes of Somali and international security forces in Somalia, U.S. assistance reaches some areas previously inaccessible due to security concerns," the department said.

Somalia's government was recognized by the United States in January. The U.S. government has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Somalia since 2009.

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