SOMALILAND: UK Ambassador Promises Support for Democratization

British envoy to Somalia Kate Foster was left impressed with the multiparty democratic system of Somaliland and promised her government will continue helping the democratization process in the country.

Foster who made a visit to Somaliland capital Hargeisa held talks with the country’s President Muse Bihi and also the National Electoral Commission officials.

The UK government is one of the countries helping Somaliland with elections, security and other developmental projects.

With President Bihi, the discussions touched on the upcoming parliamentary and council elections that are scheduled for May 31.

“The president briefed the British envoy on the political situation in the Horn of Africa and also discussed the plans for the parliamentary and council elections and on the multi-party democracy in Somaliland,” said a statement

Somaliland embraced Multipartysm in 2002.

Foster was accompanied by Mr Stuart Brown, the head of the UK mission office to Somaliland.

At the same time, the National Elections Commission briefed the envoy on the progress made in holding the elections.

Britain has had strong relations with its former colony Somaliland.

While the UK is yet to recognize Somaliland as an independent nation, there has been pressure from the British parliament for the government to recognize Somaliland.

In July 2019, sis members of the UK parliament tabled a motion to have the government recognize Somaliland.

The six included Stephen Doughty (Labour), Ruth Jones (Labour), Paul Farrelly (Labour), Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party), Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party) and Drew Henry also of the Scottish National Party.

They were supported by Bob Blackman (Conservative), Allan Brown (Scottish National Party) and Douglas Chapman of the Scottish National Party.

In their motion, they said. “That this House notes the strong historical ties between Somaliland and the UK; congratulates the people of Somaliland on the 59th Anniversary of Somaliland’s independence as a British protectorate; recognises the 1991 declaration of independence from Somalia.

The motion further read: That the house applauds the cities and boroughs across the UK including Cardiff, Sheffield, Tower Hamlets and Birmingham that recognise Somaliland as independent; believes that the common interests of the UK and Somaliland in the region will be advanced by continued close cooperation; welcomes the strong cooperation between the UK Government and Somaliland through development aid, help in sustaining democratic institutions and promoting trade and business relationships in Somaliland;

The MPS said they encourage the Government to urge the Somalian Government to refrain from politicising humanitarian and economic development; recognises the importance of the historic visit of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Somaliland to Hargeisa in 2018 in building positive relations; and calls on the UK Government to formally recognise Somaliland as an independent state and to take steps to encourage dialogue with other international partners, the Government of Somalia and the African Union to help bring about a peaceful and lasting settlement in the region based on the self-determination of the people of Somaliland.”

While the MPs continue to pile pressure on the government to recognize Somaliland, the two countries have continued to work closely with the UK supporting several development and humanitarian projects in the country.

During her visit, Kate Foster promised more support from the UK government to Somaliland.

Source: Busiweek

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