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Somalia's president to visit Minneapolis on Friday

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under 5th District, Minnesota congressional Updated: January 17, 2013 - 9:56 AM

Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud will travel to Minnesota on Friday as part of his official visit to the United States. The U.S. State Department has not yet announced the details of his visit to Minnesota, which has the nation's largest Somali population.

During a meeting with President Mahamud today, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton is expected to announce that the United States recognizes his government as the Somalia's official government. Mahamud's election in the fall marked the first step towards permanent governance for Somalia in more than a decade.

"The U.S. is committed to continue assistance to the new government to strengthen democratic institutions, improve stability and security, and improve its ability to provide services to its citizens," a State Department release said.

Mahamud met with several members of Minnesota's congressional delegation, including U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Rick Nolan and Erik Paulsen, earlier this week.

In December, Ellison and Paulsen introduced legislation to help address the difficulties Somali-Americans have sending money to family and friends back home because of restrictions placed on wire transfer firms that send money to Somalia. Millions of residents in the country depend on the funds. The Somali government has estimated that one-third of the nation's gross domestic product comes via small money transfer businesses.

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