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Fall of Kismayo praised by world leaders

Thursday, October 04, 2012

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- British officials visiting Mogadishu expressed optimism over Somali development after a key al-Shabaab stronghold fell to pro-government forces.

Al-Shabaab lost its hold on the Somali port city of Kismayo after Kenyan and African forces stormed the beach in recent days.

British International Development Secretary Justine Greening and Minister for African Mark Simmonds, making their first visit to the country, met with Somali leaders in Mogadishu.

"I welcome the progress made to increase the areas recovered from al-Shabaab control, including recent progress in Kismayo," said Simmonds in a statement. "It is clear that this will help create areas of stability, which will allow space for the return of basic services and for economic activity to resume."

British officials expressed support for the government in Mogadishu. Somali leaders recently chose a president and parliamentary leaders, something lacking in the country since the 1990s.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, expressed support for the capture of Kismayo in a statement from Washington.

"We urge rapid establishment of an inclusive political framework to ensure the city is governed in the interest of all its citizens and of other Somalis who depend on its port," she said.


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