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International Relations

International Monetary Fund recognizes Somali government

The International Monetary Fund has announced it is recognizing Somalia's new government after a 22-year break in relations. The move allows the fund to provide policy support to the country.

"The International Monetary Fund today recognized the Federal Government of Somalia, headed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, paving the way for the resumption of relations after a 22-year interval," the IMF said in a press release on Friday. "The decision is consistent with broad international support and recognition of the federal government."

The IMF's recognition paves the way for donors and other development banks to resume negotiations with Somalia, whose economy has been devastated by two decades of internal conflict.

Somalia has been an IMF country since 1962, but relations broke after warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, leaving the African country with "no government with which the fund could deal."

Mohamud's new government took office in September of last year. Since then, the country "has enjoyed considerable support, including from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and many IMF member countries," the IMF said.

The US formally recognized Somalia's new government in January. In March, UN Security Council voted unanimously to partially suspend an arms embargo against Somalia for 12 months, for military equipment to develop the country's security forces. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama opened the way to allow the US to train Somali forces.

The IMF said, however, that it will not be able to approve lending to Somalia until the government clears $352 million (269 million euros) it owes to the IMF, an obligation with which the US has said it will help. Somalia also owes the World Bank $250 million, which is preventing the institution from providing the government with development aid.

dr/ch (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)