U.S. Announces It Will End Its Somalia Presence
The last official U.S. presence in Somalia will end Sept. 15, the Clinton Administration announced Friday, after deciding the capital of Mogadishu has become too violent to allow 22 diplomats and 58 Marines there to remain safely.
The issue of whether to keep a small U.S. presence in Somalia has divided the Administration for months. Pentagon officials argued the tribal warfare had left Mogadishu so dangerous it was imprudent to stay. But the State Department worried that abandoning the country would send a message of retreat that might cause the end of the continuing U.N. relief effort.
State Department spokesman Mike McCurry said the United States will move its liaison office to neighboring Kenya and direct diplomats to make regular visits. In addition, a $35-million annual aid program, including $12 million in food shipments, will be continued.
The humanitarian operation in Somalia began in December, 1992. At its peak, the operation involved more than 25,000 U.S. troops.