Obama nominates first US Ambassador to Somalia since 1991

US President Barack Obama has nominated Katherine S Dhanani, who previously headed the American diplomatic mission in India, as his first ambassador to Somalia since 1991.

Washington: US President Barack Obama has nominated Katherine S Dhanani, who previously headed the American diplomatic mission in India, as his first ambassador to Somalia since 1991.

If confirmed by the Senate, Dhanani would be based at the US embassy in Nairobi and eventually re-open the US embassy in Mogadishu, if security situation permits, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

"This historic nomination signals the deepening relationship between the United States and Somalia," she said adding that it also allows the US to mark the progress of the Somali people toward emerging from decades of conflict.

"Somalia has considerable work ahead to complete its transition to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation. The United States is committed to supporting Somalia on this journey as a steadfast partner," Psaki said.

A career member of the Foreign Service, Dhanani currently serves as Director of the Office of Regional and Security Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs in the Department of State, a position she has held since 2013.

Previously, she served as Consul General at the US Consulate in Hyderabad, India from 2010 to 2013 and was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Zimbabwe from 2007 to 2010 as well as at the US embassy in Libreville, Gabon from 2005 to 2007. 

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