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Yamamoto ‘considering exit’ over US handling of Somalia’s debt relief process-Foreign Policy

Storyline:National News

President Donald Trump’s top diplomat in Somalia Donald Yamamoto is ‘privately considering’ bolting out over the State Department’s failure to take serious Somalia’s debt relief process in what could mirror his predecessor’s exit.

The U.S based influential Foreign Policy said in a report Yamamoto who was approved for the current post mid 2017 is frustrated by State Department’s failure to factor in cancellation of Somalia’s debt to the US through budgetary allocations.

“U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto has privately considered quietly resigning if the U.S. government can’t resolve the issue, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter,” the article which appeared December 11 reads in part.

According to the article, the State and Treasury Departments did not inform lawmakers that they should include authorization to write off Somalia’s debt before Congress finalized its spending bills.

Should such information have been delivered, the authors of the article note, the State Department could have paid only $35 million to the Treasury of behalf of Somalia, effectively allowing the Treasury to write off the $1 billion debt Somalia owes the U.S.

Yamamoto’s predecessor resigned October 2017 barely one year into office citing ‘personal reasons.’ His exit came two months before another top diplomat-Elizabeth Shackelford in the then US mission to Somalia resigned citing ‘lack of confidence’ in Trump and then Secretary Rex Tillerson’s ‘approach toward diplomacy.’

Somali government has expressed confidence in reaching the decision point under the Heavily Indebted and Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative early 2020 as it seeks to clear about $600 million owed to the World Bank and IMF.

Norway has pledged $350 million bridging loan to Somalia to clear Somalia’s arrears to the World Bank.