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Britain appoints first Somalia ambassador in 21 years


IMG_00281Britain appointed Thursday its first Ambassador to war-torn Somalia for

 

 

 

21 years, Foreign Secretary William Hague said, as he made a landmark

 

 

 

Visit to the anarchic capital Mogadishu. I am delighted to have –

 

 

made the first visit to Mogadishu by a British Foreign Secretary for over 19 years. This is a sign of Britain’s commitment to the people and country of Somalia," Hague said in a statement.


 

"As a further demonstration of our long-term commitment to Somalia, the UK’s new ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh has today presented his credentials to (Somali) President Sheikh Sharif."

Hague was one of the highest-profile visitors and the most senior British official to travel to the war-torn Somali capital in two decades.

The last British ambassador left Somalia 21 years ago, as the Horn of Africa spiralled into chaos during the 1991 ouster of president Siad Barre.

Near constant civil war has raged since then, allowing militias to flourish, with Islamist insurgents and pirate gangs ruling mini-fiefdoms.

The new ambassador, previously Britain’s Senior Representative to Somalia, will remain based in the Kenyan capital, a British embassy spokesman in Nairobi said.

He will move to Mogadishu and open an embassy only "when the security situation allows," the spokesman added.

The appointment, and Hague’s surprise visit, comes ahead of a London conference due on February 23 aimed at resolving the protracted crises in the lawless Horn of Africa nation.

Britain’s Foreign Office says the event "aims to bring together leaders of key partner countries and organisations… to help galvanise a common approach to address the problems and challenges of Somalia that affect us all."

This includes tackling the issues of extremism and the "underlying causes of instability and conflict in Somalia".

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