Obama approves sending US military aid to Somalia

April 8, 2013 23:59

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama determined on Monday that Somalia may receive US military assistance, a step seen as a sign of improving relations with a country grappling to contain militants linked to al-Qaida.

Obama issued a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry that said Somalia is eligible for "defense articles and defense services" under U.S. arms export and foreign aid laws.

Security in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has improved since the Islamist group al-Shabaab fled the city after a military offensive in August 2011. Bombings and assassinations are still frequent.

A senior Obama administration official said the aid authorization reflects a move by the United States toward more normal relations with Somalia.

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