UK Appoints New Ambassador To Somalia

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New UK Ambassador To Somalia To Take Office In June

After the collapse of the Somali central government and the start of the civil war in 1991, the UK embassy in Mogadishu closed down.

On 25 April 2013, the UK became the first Western country to re-open its embassy in Somalia, and the British government appointed Neil Wigan as the new British Ambassador to Somalia.

Now, Ms Harriet Mathews OBE has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Somalia to succeed Mr Wigan, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Ms Mathews will take up her appointment during June 2015.

The British government never formally severed diplomatic ties with Somalia. Britain acknowledged and supported the internationally recognized current federal government of Somalia as the country’s national governing body.

On her appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ms Mathews said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia. I look forward to working to deepen the strong relationship between our two countries. The United Kingdom has been instrumental in helping to bring peace and security back to Somalia, and it is a great privilege to be able to contribute personally to this process.”

Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in mid-2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the new administration and re-affirmed Britain’s continued support for the Somali authorities.

Somalia and Great Britain’s relationship dates back to the 19th century. In 1884, Britain established British Somaliland protectorate in present-day northern Somalia after signing successive treaties with them.

The Somali religious leader Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan’s Dervish forces; then began a twenty-year resistance movement against British troops.

This military campaign eventually came to an end in 1920, after Britain aerially bombarded the Dervish capital of Taleh.

Omar Wardere is a Somali researcher, reporter and editor. He is a committee member of National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and member of Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.