The United States established diplomatic relations with Somalia in 1960, following its constituent parts' independence from British and Italian administration, respectively. A 1969 coup replaced Somalia's elected government with military rule that reflected both ideological and economic dependence on the Soviet Union. Following war with Ethiopia in the 1970s, Somalia began turning toward the West, including the United States, for international support, military equipment, and economic aid. Civil war in the 1980s led to the collapse of Somalia's central government in 1991. Following this, various groupings of Somali factions, sometimes supported by outside forces, sought to control the national territory (or portions thereof) and fought one another. From 1992-94, the United States took part in operations that aimed to provide assistance to Somalis.
Numerous efforts at mediation and reconciliation were attempted over the years, and a transitional government was established in 2004. In 2012, Somalia completed its political transition with the election of a new federal parliament and speaker, the national constituent assembly's adoption of a provisional constitution, the election of a new president, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the naming of a new prime minister and cabinet. The United States formally recognized the new government on January 17, 2013.
U.S. foreign policy objectives in Somalia are to promote political and economic stability, prevent the use of Somalia as a haven for international terrorism, and alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by years of conflict, drought, flooding, and poor governance. The United States is committed to helping Somalia's government strengthen democratic institutions, improve stability and security, and deliver results for the Somali people. It has urged the Somali leadership to continue to consolidate gains by helping local governance structures emerge through community dialogue and reconciliation, rapidly providing services, and drafting legislation to facilitate implementation of the provisional constitution.
The United States also has welcomed the African Union Mission in Somalia's (AMISOM) success in driving the al-Shabaab terrorist organization out of strategically important population centers, and has underscored the continued U.S. commitment to support AMISOM and the Somali national forces in their responsibility of extending security throughout Somalia. Although the United States never formally severed diplomatic relations with Somalia, the U.S. Embassy in Somalia was closed in 1991.
The United States has maintained regular dialogue with Somali authorities and other key stakeholders in Somalia through the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, which also handles consular coverage for Somalia, including to U.S. citizens in the self-declared "Republic of Somaliland."