Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson travelled to Mogadishu on 15th March 2017. The Foreign Secretary met Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to reiterate the importance of the UK’s partnership with Somalia and affirm the UK’s commitment to working with the country’s new leadership to build a more stable, secure and prosperous Somalia.
Somalia is facing severe drought conditions, with a looming threat of famine. Whilst in Mogadishu, the Foreign Secretary visited the UN Drought Operation Co-ordination Centre (DOCC) to see how the UK’s humanitarian contribution of £110 million to the drought response is already reaching vulnerable people across Somalia. He met UN humanitarian partners and reiterated the UK’s commitment to helping prevent famine, recognising the need for the international community to urgently step up its support.
In light of this pressing humanitarian challenge currently facing the country, the Foreign Secretary highlighted the importance of accelerating progress on long-term security, stability and economic development to ensure that Somalia can build its resilience to crises. The Foreign Secretary looked forward to the London Conference, which the UK Government will be hosting on 11 May 2017 and co-chairing alongside the Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations, as a key opportunity for delivering this agenda.
The Foreign Secretary met Regional Leaders to discuss the importance of working together to build a stable federal settlement. The Foreign Secretary spoke with British Somali members of Parliament, commending them on their work in helping to rebuild Somalia.
The Foreign Secretary attended a joint training session for Somali prosecutors and law students, to see the UK’s support for the Somali civilian justice system to effectively deal with cases in accordance with Somali law and Somalia’s obligations under international human rights instruments. He also attended a demonstration of the Somali National Army and AMISOM training that British military are conducting.
Speaking after the visit the Foreign Secretary said:
“On my first visit to Somalia I was delighted to meet with newly elected President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Khayre. I heard about their plans and priorities and we discussed how we can work together to improve security and deliver the economic development that Somalia needs to improve the lives of all its people.
“I was particularly impressed by the demonstrations of the practical help that the UK is delivering on the ground, from our military providing essential training for Somali armed forces to the live-saving humanitarian support from UK Aid. All of this is vital if Somalia is going to move forward to achieve long-term stability and prosperity.
“That is why the UK is hosting the Somalia Conference in London in May and I look forward to welcoming the President to the UK to continue this work.”
On departure from Somalia the Foreign Secretary will be visiting Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya, where he will be discussing regional security, prosperity and the upcoming London Somalia Conference on 11 May 2017 and the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018.