US withdraws nomination of ambassador to Somalia

US President Barack Obama has withdrawn the nomination of the US first ambassador to Somalia in 24 years, the White House has said.

The administration confirmed on Monday that Katherine Dhanani, a long-time diplomat with deep experience in African affairs, has turned down the nomination for personal reasons.

“She is withdrawing for personal reasons,” an administration official told AFP news agency.

Dhanani had appeared before the Senate in March to seek confirmation in the post. President Obama nominated her for the post in February, the first since 1991.

“Decades of conflict, famine, and oppression led many to label Somalia a ‘failed state’. Today, Somalis are proving those pessimists wrong,” she told a panel.

Abukar Arman, a former Somalia special envoy to the US and a foreign policy analyst, told Al Jazeera that he believed the decision to withdraw the ambassador’s nomination might be more of a political decision.

“It would be too reckless from the Obama administration’s point of view to open a full-fledged embassy and assign an American ambassador to operate out of Mogadishu knowing that the frontrunner of the Democratic Party [Hillary Clinton] has the Benghazi tragedy hovering over her head,” Arman said.

“Democrats would consider such adventure as a risky business.”

Although the US never formally severed ties, the embassy in Mogadishu was closed in 1991 as Somalia descended into chaos amid a bloody power struggle among brutal clan chiefs.

 

Source: Aljazeera English