US soon to have permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia

June 23, 2017 GMT

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The United States ambassador to Somalia says the U.S. once again will have a permanent diplomatic presence in the country after it opens offices in Mogadishu later this year.

The U.S. embassy was closed in 1991 as the Horn of Africa nation slid into decades of chaos. Former Secretary of State John Kerry during a 2015 visit said the U.S. would begin the process of re-establishing a diplomatic presence.

Ambassador Stephen Schwartz, the first U.S. ambassador to Somalia in a quarter-century, this week told Radio Muqdisho the new “facility” should open in October.

The ambassador also says the United States has funding to build a new embassy, but he did not give details on timing.

The U.S. Mission to Somalia is currently based in neighboring Kenya.