Remarks With Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Before Their Meeting

Press Release

By:  John Kerry
Date: Sept. 20, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. It's my privilege to welcome to Washington and to the State Department His Excellency, the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Actually, I'm welcoming him back to Washington, and we have met previously and I'm very pleased to be able to welcome him here.

The United States, obviously, has been engaged in helping Somalia fight back against tribal terror and the challenges to the cohesion of the state of Somalia. And the President and his allies have really done an amazing job of fighting back and building a state structure. There's work yet to be done in Puntland and Somaliland, and we encourage you to continue the work of reaching out, of reconciliation and rebuilding the democracy, and I know he's committed to that.

Also, I want to thank the President for his rapid support of the Joint Statement on Syria. We appreciate that kind of global recognition of what is at stake in Syria.

And finally, I'd just say that Somalia is working hard now to create its own ability to defend itself, to defend the state. We will continue to work. There is a United Nations mission there. We are committed to both -- to the independent ability of the state of Somalia as well as the United Nations mission to help it in this transition. And we're very happy to welcome the President here to talk today about issues of mutual interest.

Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT MOHAMUD: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary. And it's -- really, it was a pleasure and privilege to be here again this year in the State Department and the United States. And we -- as the Secretary said rightly we're working very hard together to establish the national institutions in all areas, particularly in security, where we are working very hard with the UNOSOM forces, and our national army is now taking shape and building up, of course, with the support of the United States Government that has always been with us. And this is a time we came here to share the ideas, the way forward we have, and particularly, the Vision 2016, where we want Somalia to go into the poll stations and make a voting for the first time in 40 years -- more than 40 years, even.

And as you rightly said, we have been engaging with different stakeholders in Somalia. The federal government has the leadership, the parliament, all visiting different corners of Somalia to consult on this event. And the product of that consultation was the recent compact document signed in Brussels of the 16th of this month. I, myself, and the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House, the parliamentarians, key ministers have been traveling all over Somalia. Although the situation in traveling locally is very difficult, but even then, you have to sit with the people, listen them, share with them the plans that we are intending, and asking them the type of Somalia they want to see in the future.

So based on that, we have signed agreements with Puntland State, and recently agreement with the Jubba regional administrations. And of course, we also did the same with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama'a in the central region. So it takes some time. We have our own differences, but we are in a better shape than ever before now. We're shaping for the first time a united and federal Somalia. The constitution is progressing and the federal system is working very hard. This federal government is working on all its capability to establish the federal unities in an orderly manner and with -- in accordance and compliance with the federal constitution.

So there's a huge progress that is going on in Somalia, and again, we are very much grateful with the support we received from the United States Government through bilateral and through multilateral. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT MOHAMUD: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir, very much. Please come. Thank you.