Hassan Sheikh, the president of Somalia, stated in an interview with Al Jazeera Arabic that he is willing to communicate with Al-Shabaab.

The President, however, did not mention in the interview the established prerequisites for negotiations with Al-Shabaab.

He declared last year that after the group is militarily defeated, the government will hold talks with them.

Hassan Sheikh has emphasized that Al-Shabaab cannot be defeated through the use of military force alone; as a result, his government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy that includes military, religious, and economic measures.

Additionally, he claimed that three months after taking office, last year, the government launched an offensive to drive the militants out of the areas they control.

The seven-month operation that drove al-Shabaab out of the majority of Hirshabelle and Galmudug states has given the Somali government control over a large portion of the nation.

The group is still in control of the entire Middle Jubba region and other strategic areas, where it orchestrates attacks, mainly targeting the capital, in a show of its presence.

The president also shed light on The threat of famine in Somalia has been present since the country went through five consecutive failed rainy seasons. It now faces a sixth.

In an assessment last December, the UN estimated that eight million people were badly food insecure and that more than 700,000 could suffer famine between April and June this year if aid supplies are not increased.

However, in its latest report in late February, UN experts said that while food insecurity remains “extremely critical”, they were no longer projecting famine.


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