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President Obama informed Congress on Thursday of his intention to renew sanctions against Somalia despite the country forming a central government for the first time in 22 years.

The Obama administration recognized the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Jan. 17. The move paves the way for a resumption of civilian and military aid and full diplomatic relations with a country that had operated without a government since warlords toppled the central government in 1991. 

“Although the U.S. recognition underscores a strong commitment to Somalia’s stabilization, it does not remove the importance of U.S. sanctions, especially against persons undermining the stability of Somalia,” Obama wrote to congressional leaders. “For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to Somalia and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat.”

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