Strengthening Relations Between Somalia and Britain

Mogadishu (PP Editorial) — A tweet by the new British Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster on a meeting with President of Hirshabelle State Ali Gudlaawe has prompted angry reactions on Twittersphere.

“We covered a range of issues important to the UK 🇬🇧 and #Hirsabelle, including climate issues and the importance of finding a peaceful way forward on elections” tweeted Ambassador Kate Foster. The standard diplomatic practice emphasises national sovereignty. How would a government react if a British Ambassador framed a meeting with a regional governor as one between Britain and the region in question? In Africa national identity is the foundation of national sovereignty.

Kate Foster, the British Ambassador to Somalia.

The Ambassador’s controversial tweet reminded many Somalis of a 2019 tweet by the former British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in which he described Somaliland as a country after holding a meeting with President Muse Bihi Abdi. Williamson had to delete the tweet.

In 2019 Gavin Williamson had to delete a tweet describing Somaliland as a country.

The former British Ambassador to Somalia Ben Fender went on the record for quoting Thomas Hobbes to underscore the indispensability of one supreme national authority — Leviathan — rather than competing subnational entities for Somalia. Britain aid makes difference to the lives of many Somalis. Its impact is visible on health, education and infrastructure sectors in many parts of Somalia.

Since 2011 Britain has played a key role in state-building efforts in Somalia particularly in the transition from failed state status to a fragile state status, and hosts thousands of Somali refugees whose support for their kith and kin in Somalia forms a key part of the Somali economy. Let’s hope that the Ambassador’s tweet does not reflect the position of the British Government.

© Puntland Post, 2021