News / Africa

Britain Re-opens Embassy in Somalia

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, shakes hands with Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, at the opening of the newly built British Embassy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, Apr. 25, 2013.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, shakes hands with Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, at the opening of the newly built British Embassy in the Somali capital Mogadishu, Apr. 25, 2013.
Roopa Gogineni
British Foreign Secretary William Hague flew to Mogadishu on Thursday to re-open the British Embassy - making his country the first Western nation to resume a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia in 22 years.

The British Embassy in central Mogadishu was forced to shut its doors in 1991 after Mohamed Siad Barre's government collapsed and Somalia plunged into chronic civil war.

Twenty-two years later, British diplomats are planning a return to Mogadishu.

Foreign Secretary William Hague attended a flag-raising ceremony at the site of a new embassy Thursday.

“I said we would open an embassy as soon as the security situation permitted it,"Hague said. "So it is a sign of confidence in the future that we are opening it.”

The reopening follows major strides made by African Union forces in securing the capital city from al-Shabab militants.

But the peace is tenuous. Just last week al-Shabab attacked a Mogadishu courthouse, killing or wounding dozens of people.

The new embassy sits in the airport compound behind mortar-proof sandbags and heavily guarded by African Union troops.

Hague expects this location to be temporary. "I hope over time this will be an embassy that is able to move into the city itself," he said.
 
Matt Baugh, the first British ambassador to Somalia in 21 years, was appointed last February but has been based in neighboring Kenya.
 
The Foreign Office is expected to soon announce a new ambassador to take up post in Mogadishu when the embassy becomes fully operational in late July.

Other nations are expected to follow the British Embassy's move from Nairobi to Mogadishu. Turkey, Iran, and Ethiopia have already reopened their embassies in the Somali capital.

On May 7, London will host its second international conference to coordinate the stabilization of Somalia. Prime Minister David Cameron has prioritized Somalia in his role as president of the G8.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid