IMF recognizes Somali government, can offer economic advice

WASHINGTON - The International MonetaryFund officially recognized the Somali government on Friday,ending a hiatus of 22 years and allowing the Fund to provideeconomic policy advice to Somalia.

"The decision is consistent with broad international supportand recognition of the federal government," the IMF said in astatement. It said, however, that it will not be able to lend toSomalia until the government clears $352 million in debt it owesto the IMF.

Donors have slowly been re-engaging with the Mogadishugovernment since the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamudlast year in the first vote of its kind since warlords toppledmilitary dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.