By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The governments of Somaliland and the United Kingdom have expressed satisfaction with existing bilateral relations.
This development follows a visit to Hargeisa by a high level UK government delegation led by Minister of State, Department for International Development Grant Shapps and including the new UK Ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland, Ms Harriet Mathews and the Head of DFID programs
The British team upon arrival in the country parleyed a team of Somaliland officials led by President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo at the Hargeisa presidency where a deepening cooperation between the two countries and shared history together was demonstrated followed by signing of a memorandum of understanding in which the British Government provides monetary support towards extension of Hargeisa water, energy and electric power.
The grant will be part of the UK’s contribution to the Somaliland Development Fund which has proven successful of late in the implementation of innumerable projects in Somaliland.
Minister Shapps co- signed the Memorandum with the Somaliland minister of foreign affairs Mohamed Behi Younis, in the presence of the country’s President, His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed Mahmud “Silanyo” and other officials from the two countries present at the meeting.
Those under the charge of president Silanyo were the Minister for the Presidency Hirsi Ali Haj Hassan, Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Hussein Abdi Duale, Minister for Interior Ali Mohamed Waran’ade, and the Director of Hargeisa Water Authority Ibrahim Siyad, among others.
After the closed door meeting the MOU signatories the UK Minister of State, Department for International Development Grant Shapps and Somaliland minister of foreign affairs Mohamed Behi Younis gave a briefing the media as per objectives and outcome of discussions.
“The meeting we had with Minister Shapps’ delegation centered on the historical relations the countries have with one another, the critical support the UK government gives Somaliland and matters relating to the upcoming elections,” Minister Behi said.
The Minister stated that the two sides also talked of the on-going dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia with Somaliland requesting the UK government, once more, to intervene and become more active in supporting the continuation of the talks and their timeline.
On his turn, Minister Shapps expressed pleasure and gratitude for the ‘warm hospitality’ given him and his delegation and for a ‘fruitful’ meeting.
Minister Shapps said he was glad to be in Somaliland as a Minister – a country that he studied in school when ‘he was a young lad’ and that it was a huge privilege to meet the President.
“There was a whole variety of subjects we talked about that are important to the cooperation between our two countries … from trade, security, energy and, of course, those memorandums of understanding signed here today – a demonstration of a deepening cooperation between the two countries and shared history together,” he said.
The high-level UK delegation’s visit to ROS and the MOU signed is widely seen as a testimony to the growing trust between the Republic of Somaliland and its development partners.
Watch the Joint UK Somaliland press Briefing