Somaliland: President meets British Minister for Africa, Anglo-Lander Chamber established
Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo met with British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss a wide range of issues.
Below is an article published by Somalilandpress:
According to a Government House release signed by Chief of Cabinet, Mr. Hersi Ali H. Hassan, the president was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Planning Minister, Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire and Somaliland representative to the UK, Mr. Ahmed Omar.
The two sides discussed democracy, security, development and trade including British investment in Somaliland and other bilateral issues.
President Silanyo briefed Mr. Bellingham on Somaliland’s progress in the areas of democracy, integrity, stability, services and human rights.
The minister on his behave congratulated the president on the historical June-elections that brought him to power and the peaceful transition of power in the country.
Mr. Bellingham was also pleased with Somaliland’s relationship with it’s neighbors in particular Djibouti and Ethiopia.
Other issues discussed included how the government of Britain could assist Somaliland gain Commonwealth membership, help modernize and improve general elections and assist in the areas of development and security.
On another front, last night — President Silanyo and Minister Bellingham unveiled a new economic cooperation center dubbed Anglo-Somaliland Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will promote trade and investment between the United Kingdom and Somaliland’s private sector and will help foster a cooperation between the two sides.
A number of British firms from large corporations to a host of small businesses are bound for Somaliland to study the country’s investment potentials in the coming months.
The opening ceremony was attended by the visiting Somaliland delegation, British Ministers, Members of the House of Lords and businesses delegations from some of Britain’s major corporations.
Somaliland born and British businessman, Mohamed Yusuf played a crucial role in making the Chamber possible.
“I welcome the newly elected President of Somaliland who is present for the unveiling of this economic center which will encourage and promote Somaliland-British trade,” Mr Yusuf said.
President Silanyo who also addressed the more than 100 attendees said he welcomed the Chamber and looked forward to working with the British investors.
Minister Bellingham praised Mr Yusuf’s efforts in helping the two countries forge close relations and said the British companies could help strengthen Somaliland’s private sectors and improve the living conditions.
Separtely, opposition vice-Presidential candidate, Dr. Mohamed Rashid, who is traveling with the president held a number of meetings with Somaliland Diaspora community in London and Members of the House of Lords including Lord Eric Avebury.
Dr. Rashid was recently appointed by the president to head a Recognition Committee –whose job is to find ways to help Somaliland obtain international recognition.
Dr. Rashid also held important talks with British groups that advocate for the recognition of Somaliland called Friends of Somaliland.
While the meeting was underway, the Somaliland delegation ran into a delegation from South Sudan, who were also holding a similar event in the same hotel.
The South Sudanese delegation said they were aware of Somaliland’s status and it was a role model in the region engulfed by years of unrests and civil wars.
The Somaliland delegation on their side told the South Sudanese, they look forward to birth of a new nation, South Sudan and working closely with them.
Southern Sudan will hold a referendum on whether or not it should remain as a part of Sudan on 9 January 2011. In 2001, Somaliland held a similar vote — 97.1% of them voted in favour of the constitutionthat affirmed Somaliland’s independence from Somalia as a separate state. Somaliland was a former British Protectorate that acquired it’s independence on June 26th 1960 and voluntarily unified it’s southern neighbor to form what was known as Somalia, a country that has since collapsed and registered number one for list of failed states, stateless and corruption.
The President and his delegation who were in the country for the past week will next visit the House of Lords after receiving an invitation from Lord St. John of Bletso.
On Friday, the President will be the guest speaker at the all important Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House and will discuss the topic of Somaliland prospect.