Stephen Schwartz, the U.S. ambassador to Somalia, gave President Mohamed Abdullahi an unusual gift after two days of meetings: A blue-and-white cap bearing the slogan “Make Somalia Great Again.”
US2SOM Amb Schwartz had a fruitful mtng w Pres Farmaajo 2day + presented the Pres with a cap "MAKE SOM GREAT AGAIN" https://t.co/rXHgpWFp pic.twitter.com/EWFdrRipv3
— U.S. Mission-Somalia (@US2SOMALIA) February 17, 2017
This is all the more interesting because, as the UK Telegraph points out, Somalia is one of the seven countries affected by President Trump’s temporary ban on immigration. President Abdullahi has pledged to work on getting Somalia off the list.
NBC News noted after his election that President Abdullahi, a dual citizen of the United States and Somalia, seems willing to acknowledge that Somalia has problems and is determined to work on them. He briefly served as prime minister six years ago and is well-regarded in Somalia as an opponent of corruption and terrorism.
“He is committed to bringing peace and stability to his people and to his country. He has always said that terrorism will be his number one objective,” a longtime friend told NBC. “To eradicate terrorism in Somalia, as he said to me many times, the most effective way to stop terrorism in the United States is to stop it in Somalia.”
“It is part of my responsibility to talk about this issue with the U.S. government by conveying our message to the president and his government that the Somali people are really good, hard-working people,” he said in a February 10 telephone interview with Voice of America News. “They raise their families in the United States. So we will see if he can change that policy and exclude Somalis from that list.”