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Britain Pledges Help for Somali Sports Recovery

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The British government, which has in the past only been involved in Somalia's politics, said Friday that it will help the horn of Africa country's sports fully recover from decades-long civil wars that ravaged the whole country.

UK minister for African development Henry Bellingham made the announcement during a meeting with Somali minister for sport Mahmoud Jirde Hussein and the national Olympic committee president Duran Ahmed Farah at the Olympic Park on Friday.

"It is a very great honor for Great Britain that Somalia comes to the Olympics-we were really very much interested in Somalia's arrival to the London 2012 Olympic Games amid difficult situations" Mr. Henry Bellingham said during Friday's meeting with Somali sporting officials.

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UK foreign minister for Africa Mr. Henry Bellingham, Somali sports minister Mahmoud Jirde Hussein and Somali NOC president Duran Ahmed Farah discuss on sports development in Somalia at the Olympic Park in London Augsut 3 2012
Photo: Shafi'I Mohyaddin Abokar
"Sport plays a key role in the peace building and the UK is pledging to work with Somalia in the field of sports development and the reconstruction of the destroyed facilities in Somalia" the UK minister for Africa told the meeting which was the first ever of its kind between Somalia and UK.

For his part Somali minister for youth and sports Mahmoud Jirde Hussein thanked the British government for its past efforts to realize Somalia's participation at the world Olympics. He also praised the Somali community in UK for the successive welcome ceremonies held for the Somali delegation since arrival at London's Heathrow airport on 18th of July.

"It is very mentionable that sport has a great importance for the stabilization of war-ravaged countries like Somalia and as we learned from the past history sport has achieved peace building and public integration in Somalia so we want the UK government to have more role in this sector" the Somali minister for youth and sport emphasized during Friday's meeting.

He accused the Al-Qaeda-linked Alshabaab terrorists for banning sport in areas they control and denounced the targeted killings against journalists especially those write about sport of whom some were killed and others are still target for their involvement in sports writing.

The president of Somali National Olympic committee Duran Ahmed Farah added that since the fall of Somalia his Olympic committee has been the country's flag carrier despite experiencing one of the world's most ravaging civil wars and terrorism for the past two decades.

"Rather than promotion of sport another big job that Somali NOC has been doing is fight to stop the young boys in military recruitment, tribalism, drug abuse or falling into other kinds of crimes like terrorism" the Somali NOC president told the meeting adding that for the cooperation between Somali NOC and the ministry of sport has been growing for the past several months.

"As Somalia is now emerging from years of conflicts the Somali Olympic committee is now drawing special sports for peace programs intended to carry out in the 16 districts in Somali capital with the help from our ministry of sport-we hope that friendly nations like the UK will play a key role in the implementation of such sports for peace programs" Somali NOC president Duran Ahmed Farah told the UK minister for African development Henry Bellingham.

Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more stories by Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar.

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