After independence, Somalia followed a foreign policy of nonalignment. It received major economic assistance from the United States, Italy, and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as from the Soviet Union and China. The government also sought ties with many Arab countries, and the current Transitional National Government has been accepted by the Arab League and the Islamic Conference.
The status of expatriate Somalis has been an important foreign and domestic issue. A goal of Somali nationalism is to unite the other Somali-inhabited territories with the republic consistent with the objectives of pan-Somali tradition. This issue has been a major cause of past crises between Somalia and its neighbors--Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti.
In 1963, Somalia severed diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom for a period following a dispute over Kenya's northeastern region (Northern Frontier District), an area inhabited mainly by Somalis. Somalia urged self-determination for the people of the area, while Kenya refused to consider any steps that might threaten its territorial integrity. Related problems have arisen from the boundary with Ethiopia and the large-scale migrations of Somali nomads between Ethiopia and Somalia.
In the aftermath of the 1977-78 Somali-Ethiopian war, the Government of Somalia continued to call for self-determination for ethnic Somalis living in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia. At the March 1983 Nonaligned Movement summit in New Delhi, President Siad stated that Somalia harbored no expansionist aims and was willing to negotiate with Ethiopia.
Since the fall of the Barre regime, the foreign policy of the various entities in Somalia has centered on gaining international recognition, winning international support for national reconciliation, and obtaining international economic assistance.