The UK is committed to strengthening the electoral process and bolstering state and peace building in Somalia, UK Minister for Africa and Middle East Tobias Ellwood has said.
Following a just concluded two day visit to Somalia and Kenya, Ellwood said his country was steadfast in building institutions in Somalia noting this was critical in ensuring service delivery, security and economic recovery.
“The UK is committed to supporting Somalia to build institutions that represent the Somali people and that can effectively tackle security challenges, deliver services, and promote economic development,” said Ellwood.
The Minister also sounded upbeat on the electoral process in the country which is expected to culminate into the election of the President and Members of Parliament after end of terms on September 10 and August 19th respectively.
He noted President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud expressed his commitment towards a more inclusive electoral process and preparation for the one-person-one vote in 2020.
The Minister’s visit to Somalia came a day before the National Leadership Forum opened in Mogadishu to deliberate on a range of issues concerning the expected poll. The meeting will conclude today.
Ellwood added security in East Africa remains high on his agenda noting his country will remain a strong supporter of the African Union Mission in Somalia and the UN Missions. The UK deployed 70 UK military personnel this year to support Amisom and UN in Somalia and provides £200 million of support towards security.
The East African region has in the recent years witnessed significant security challenges notably the cross border threat of the militant group Al-Shabaab, political instability in Burundi and the fragile situation in South Sudan which has claimed thousands of lives since December.
Earlier in an interview with Goobjoog News, Ellwood said Britain’s expected exit from the European Union will not affect his country’s support to Somalia.
“I can confirm there is every intention for Britain to remain fully engaged on the international stage. When it comes to countries like Somalia we are the pen holders. We remain a permanent member of the UN and fully committed with the desire and determination to play our role in the international stage and that am sure will continue here in Somalia as well,” said Ellwood.