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Somali PM Urges US to Allow Bank Transfers

FILE - Somalia's Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke speak to journalists in Nairobi Kenya about developments in Somalia.

Somalia's prime minister has appealed to the U.S. government and U.S. banks to resume money transfer services that provide a lifeline for many people in Somalia.

In a statement, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke said Sunday he has spoken to U.S. government officials on this "pressing issue" and repeated his calls to banks to reconsider their decisions to stop the money transfers.

Many banks ended their remittance services to Somalis because of regulations imposed by the U.S. government aimed at preventing money from reaching terrorist groups like al-Shabab.

Sharmarke said, "I will seek to appease their concerns and I will do everything in my power to find a permanent legitimate and transparent solution."

According to the United Nations, about 40 percent of Somali families depend on remittances sent from abroad. The Somali diaspora sends more than $1 billion to Somalia each year.

U.N. officials and other aid workers warn the end of money transfers will have a huge humanitarian impact in Somalia.