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Biden Picks Veteran Diplomat Richard Riley As Next Ambassador to Somalia

Storyline:National News

GOOBJOOG NEWS|WASHINGTON: U.S. President Joe Biden has picked career diplomat Richard H. Riley as the next ambassador to Somalia, becoming the fourth ambassador to Somalia since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2013.

Riley has been in the foreign service since 1986 and has served in 12 countries in Asia, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, including two tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan. He replaces  Larry André Jr. who served for one year between February 2022 and July 2023.

He also served as Assistant Chief of Mission in Kabul, Deputy Chief of Mission for Yemen and in 2022 as U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.

In his opening statement to the Senate Committee last month, Riley said he has acquired remarkable experience to take up the new position in Somalia.

“I believe my extensive experience, including senior leadership positions in four Muslim-majority countries in four war zones, has allowed me to work very successfully with our U.S. Military, USAID, and other interagency colleagues to fight against terrorist threats worldwide.”

Ambassador Riley will become the fourth U.S ambassador to Somalia since Washington formally recognised the Somali government in 2013 after years of protracted instability and civil war. He joins a list of veteran diplomats that Washington has deployed to Somalia since the resumption of relations in 2013. This affirms the importance the U.S. government attaches to its relations with Somalia.

Ambassador Stephen Schwartz became the first U.S. ambassador to post-civil war Somalia in June 2016, followed by Donald Yamamoto in October 2018. He was later succeeded by André Jr. in 2022. All these ambassadors boast of many years experience in the foreign service in various parts of the world.