MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - A U.S. congressman from Minnesota has arrived in Somalia for a rare visit by a United States politician.
Keith Ellison said Tuesday that his visit to Mogadishu fulfills a request from his constituents with ties to Somalia. Minnesota has one of the largest populations of Somali-Americans in the U.S.
Ellison noted that the U.S. government recently recognized the Somali government for the first time since the country fell into anarchy in 1991. President Barack Obama's administration formally recognized the Somali government on Jan. 17.
Ellison was greeted by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The president said that Ellison's visit was a big day for Somalia. Ellison is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Minnesota affiliate of the Democratic Party.
Mogadishu has experienced about 18 months of relative peace, after the August 2011 ouster of the Islamic extremists of al-Shabab from the capital by African Union forces.