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Nov 14, 2014 10:29 AM

Officials say US threatens aid cuts to Somalia

The Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) The United States has threatened to make significant cuts in the financial assistance it gives to Somalia because of political bickering by its leaders, officials said.

The top U.S. representative to Somalia, James P. McAnulty, recently threatened an aid cut unless the country's bickering president and prime minister begin working together, a Somali official said Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of providing details about private discussions.

The international community is losing confidence in the Somali government, and the United States has threatened to pull military and financial support from Somalia, said a United Nations official who insisted on anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on the reported threat of an aid cut. In a statement this week, Washington said it was concerned about "recent political turmoil" in Somalia and that plans for a no-confidence vote "do not serve the interests of the Somali people."

Washington also this week announced it would not attend an international conference on Somalia next week in Denmark, saying political divisions are distracting Somalia's leadership.

"I think they're basically saying if you want more money and support from us, you need to fix these problems," said E.J. Hogendoorn, an Africa expert at the International Crisis Group.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed have feuded since Mohamud last month rejected a Cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister. The president has been trying to call a no-confidence vote in parliament, and the U.N. has said it's concerned about vote buying allegations surrounding the vote.

The U.S. gave $58 million to Somalia in development assistance in this fiscal year and an additional $271 million in military assistance for the Somali national army and the African Union force in Somalia.


Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya.


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