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U.S. backs Somalia's 'New Deal'

Sept. 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it was standing by its commitment to ensure Somalia's stability with $69 million in assistance.

A State Department spokeswoman cited Somalia's "New Deal platform" and said America's ties with the country will continue to strenthen.

The European Union hosted an investment conference this week in Brussels dubbed the "New Deal for Somalia."

The country's first functioning central government in more than 20 years is struggling to extend its influence beyond Mogadishu amid a lingering threat from al-Shabaab, a terrorist group aligned with al-Qaida.

Militants this week tried to kill Ahmad Muhammad Islam Madobe, interim leader of the Jubba regional administration in southern Somalia.

The European Union said it was offering the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia $163 million in assistance to help cover troop allowances.

The U.S. State Department said its delegates to the conference in Brussels offered $69 million to promote political and community stabilization programs in Somalia.

"Through this New Deal platform, America's longstanding commitment to Somalia and the Somali people will continue to deepen," State Department spokesman Marie Harf said in a statement Thursday.

Nicholas Kay, U.N. special envoy for Somalia, told the Security Council this week Somalia was on the "edge of success" but he said the next steps would be precarious.

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