Somali Prime Minister to address the fight against Al-Shabab during Minnesota visit Sunday

a man speaking at a podium
Somalia's Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Forum, Monday.
Richard Drew | AP

This story comes to you from Sahan Journal through a partnership with MPR News.

By Abdirizak Diis  |  Sahan Journal

Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre arrived in New York City on Monday accompanied by a significant delegation, and will make a stop in Minnesota Sunday. 

Hamza is participating in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to a statement released by his office. Hamza is expected to deliver a speech to the UN on Saturday highlighting Somalia’s achievements, focusing on poverty reduction, healthcare, education, economic growth, human rights, peace and security, justice, establishing robust governmental institutions, and climate change.

The Prime Minister will emphasize the progress made in Somalia’s recovery efforts and will also seek support for the country’s reconstruction, underscoring the Somali National Army’s ability to assume responsibility for the nation’s security.

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He will also ask the UN to lift its longstanding arms embargo on Somalia. This comes as Somalia’s fight against Al-Shabab, a terrorist organization that controls most of southern Somalia and that has links to Al-Qaeda, has intensified, and as African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces are leaving the country.

The United Nations General Assembly meets annually from September through December, and “is the main policy-making organ” for the organization, according to the UN website. 

Hamza will also engage in exclusive meetings with the UN Secretary-General, U.S. government officials, and select heads of other international delegations participating in the UN conference.

His agenda will include discussions about the Somali government’s fight against Al-Shabaab, according to Ali Sharif Ahmed, Somali ambassador to the United States.

“The prime minister’s most important message at the UN General assembly will be sharing three key objectives: security and stability, trade and economic growth, investment and economic development,” said Ali. 

a man speaks in front of a crowd
US President Joe Biden addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday.
Richard Drew | AP

The government’s strategy since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s reelection last year is to weaken Al-Shabab’s military capabilities, financial resources, and ideological perspectives, Ali said.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, leading from the frontlines, is spearheading the liberation of territories occupied by Al-Shabaab.

During his stay in the United States, Hamza will also meet with the Somali diaspora to provide updates on the country’s overall situation and the government’s achievements advancing societal development and combating Al-Shabaab.

Preparations for Hamza’s visit to Minnesota Sunday are currently underway in Minneapolis. Nur Ali Abshir, chairman of the committee coordinating Hamza’s Minnesota visit, said the committee is eager to welcome Hamza and to encourage community support for government initiatives in Somalia. 

“This is the first time a sitting prime minister [from Somalia] is visiting Minnesota,” said Nur.

Hamza is scheduled to address the Twin Cities Somali community at the DoubleTree Hotel, 7800 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, on Sunday, Sept. 24. The event is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. He is expected to leave the state the next day.

“The Somali community is united in their preparation to welcome Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre and his delegation to Minnesota,” said Sadiq Abdirahman, a member of the organizing committee.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Minnesota on Dec. 15, 2022, and addressed the Somali community at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The President praised the resilience of the Somali people and vowed to combat religious extremism abroad and to eradicate Al-Shabab at home.