The U.S. has recognized Somalia's government for the first time in more than two decades.
Calling it a milestone in the country's fight against Islamist extremists, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement Thursday alongside Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
The U.S. hadn't recognized a Somali government since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. American intervention failed two years later after militants shot down two U.S. helicopters and killed 18 American servicemen.
Clinton said times have changed, citing the militant group al-Shabab's retreat from every major Somali city. The U.S. provided $780 million to African forces to help that effort.
Recognition will help Somalia receive greater assistance from U.S. and international aid agencies.
Clinton also spoke about re-establishing an embassy in Somalia in future.