U.N calls for massive international support to Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for “massive international support” for Somalia during his visit to the East African country that is facing the worst drought in decades.

He said Somalia is facing humanitarian difficulties at the same time that it is combating a serious terrorism threat.

Guterres in a joint press briefing with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters he was “here to ring the alarm on the need of massive international support because of the humanitarian difficulties the country is facing.”

The U.N secretary-general was given a red carpet welcome complete with a guard of honor as he was received at the main international airport by Somalia and U.N officials.

He thanked Mohamud for the warm welcome and said he was looking forward to Iftar – the breaking of the Ramadan fast – later on Tuesday.

Most of Mogadishu was locked down for Guterres’ visit, with restricted movement of public transport.

Mohamud thanked Guterres for his historic visit in the midst of tackling humanitarian challenges and accelerating war against terrorism.

“This visit assures us that the U.N is fully committed to supporting our plans for state-building and stabilizing the country. We are confident that the Somali people will be able to overcome the problems and challenges they are still facing through the completion of the liberation of the country and reconciliation,” Mohamud said.

Food security experts say life remains “extremely critical” for more than 6 million hungry people in Somalia’s historic drought.

The country also faces insecurity as it battles thousands of fighters from al-Qaida’s East Africa affiliate, al-Shabab.

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