HARGEISA — The British government this week unveiled its plans to open a consulate general in Hargeisa, capital city of Somaliland, as it broadens its diplomatic presence in the region.

This was announced at the Hargeisa Book Fair exhibition by the visiting British Ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh, who said the establishment will mark a new step forward in British-Somaliland relations.

The consulate will oversee the delivery and implementation of British interest and development projects in Somaliland, as well promote relations between Hargeisa and British partners.

The office will operate under the British embassy set to be opened in Mogadishu and all diplomatic contacts between Somaliland and Britain will be moved from the current Mission in Addis Ababa to the office of Ambassador Baugh.

“The British government has expressed its interest to establish this office which will be located within the British Embassy in Mogadishu,” he said. Mr Baugh added that he was happy with the existing cordial relations between the two sides.

The British General Consulate joins a number of planned similar offices including one from Norway.

Mr. Baugh was appointed as the first British Ambassador to Somalia after 21 years at the beginning of this year.

Somaliland remains unrecognized despite breaking away from Somalia over two decades and the new General Consulate is seen as another setback. Somaliland officials might now have to travel to Mogadishu just to meet with British officials.

Somalilandpress

July 19, 2012