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  Military
Mattis heartened by meeting with Somali Pres.
13/05/2017 | LOC00:53
21:53 GMT
| Arab News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
WASHINGTON, May 12 (KUNA) -- US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Friday he was "heartened" by his meeting with Somali President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed, following the British-sponsored conference on Somalia in London.
Mohamed has been Somalia's president since February, and world powers had gathered to help assist the country's security forces to take over duties currently performed by the African Union (AU). Speaking to reporters on his flight back, Mattis stressed the US has a role in particular to help Somalia fight the militant group Al-Shabaab.
"So, we were working on how the future looks and what nations could commit what to what and get the framework right," he said. "It includes on the security side both a continued maturation of their security forces in the defenses against Al-Shabaab, but it also includes a reconciliation program designed to pull the fence-sitters and the middle-of-the-roaders away from Al-Shabaab. It's very well put together," he said, adding that a holistic approach is necessary.
"There is certainly an attitude of renewed hope based on the election of what appears to be a very good leader in terms of understanding the need for military security, but as well economic efforts, and certainly reconciliation is going to have to mark this way forward, as well," Mattis went on.
International support is integral to the process, and the UN, EU, AU, along with Arab allies are discussing the way forward, he revealed. The AU's peacekeeping mission, which he praised, "fought against a pretty tough enemy that has sworn allegiance -- to Al-Qaeda. It's an enemy that's got to be fought and the people have to be defended," Mattis added. (end) ys.gb
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