The new United Kingdom ambassador to Somalia Ms Harriet Mathews today submitted her credentials to the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia H. E President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Villa Somalia.
At a small ceremony in the presidential palace, Harriet was accompanied by the Head of UK’s Department for International Development, Phil Evans.
Somali president Hassan Sheik Mohamed thanked the Queen and UK government at large for their friendly engagement and help. “We sincerely thank Prime Minister David Cameron for this sustained efforts to divert the world’s attention to Somalia’s plight. I can tell you that since then Somalia has made significant progress” said the president.
Strong diplomatic ties
On her part, Ms Harriet expressed her happiness to be in Somalia to represent UK . “I have been delighted by the warm welcome that I have received from the President and Somali people. I am honoured to have been chosen to take on this important role, based in Mogadishu. I look forward to deepening the strong relationship between our two countries and addressing our common priorities including security, development, humanitarian progress and political stability. The United Kingdom has been instrumental in helping to bring peace and security back to Somalia, and remains committed to helping the Somali people and government to rebuild the country.” She said.
Ms Harriet Mathews OBE arrived on 13 July, taking over from Neil Wigan, who will be taking up a diplomatic appointment in London according to statement from the British Embassy in Mogadishu.
The new ambassador would the 14th UK envoy to Somalia since the country’s independent in 1960 and is the first female diplomat to take up this post.
The two countries have maintained good diplomatic relations for years. It’s only in 1964 when Somali government expelled the then British Ambassador over the Kenya-Somalia border dispute in which Somalia accused the UK of siding with Kenya. But the ambassador resumed office in 1967 when the two countries reconciled over the then Northern Frontier Districts, now the north eastern part of Kenya.