WASHINGTON–Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) welcomed Somalia President Hassan Sheik Mohamud to the United States Capitol today in a bipartisan meeting with Members of Congress, including Representatives Ed Royce, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health & Human Rights, Erik Paulsen
Tulsi Gabbard, Barbara Lee, Mike Michaud, Doug Lamborn, Alan Lowenthal, Dan Kildee, Steve Cohen, Rick Nolan, Donald Payne, Jr., Janice Schakowsky, Gregory Meeks, Hank Johnson , Marc Veasey, and Al Greene. This is the first meeting between Members of Congress and the newly elected President.
â€œI am honored to welcome President Hassan Sheikh to the Capitol,â€ Rep. Ellison said. â€œHis election as President marks the first permanent government in Somalia in more than two decades and begins a new chapter for Somalis and their families. It also marks a new day for the U.S.-Somali relationship. Itâ€™s now time to strengthen our relationship with Somalia based on mutual interests. While serious challenges remain, I am optimistic and excited about Somaliaâ€™s future.â€
In the meeting, President Hassan Sheikh discussed the recent security gains and economic development in Mogadishu. Just over the last several months, the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the number of attacks on aid workers fell from 13 in October to 4 and 5 in November and December. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has liberated Mogadishu and other areas from Al-Shabaab, and more humanitarian relief is reaching those who desperately need it.
A civil and political activist, President Hassan previously served as a university professor and dean. He remained in Somalia throughout the countryâ€™s 21-year civil war and was elected President on September 10, 2012. This is his first visit to the United States as President.