(Somalilandsun)-In an exclusive interview, Ambassador Matt Baugh, UK Ambassador to Somalia Talks to Geeska Afrika, the Somali version of Hornnewspaper. The full interview follows below
How many employees will work at the office your government will open in Somaliland, and how they will be hired?
We have two locally engaged staff who work on projects and political work. British Diplomats also make visits to Hargeisa from our Embassy in Addis Ababa and British Office for Somalia in Nairobi.
Does this office work under you, or is independent as earlier UK interests towards Somaliland were dealt at UK’s Addis Ababa office?
The office will be predominately staffed by officials from Addis Ababa, with occasional visits from staff in the British Office for Somalia in Nairobi.
There was hearsay that UK was not pleased and not attended the conference held at Dubai, was that right? If not, why named DUBAI DECLARATION?
We have been publicly supportive of discussions between the Somaliland authorities and the Transitional Federal Government. We hosted a preliminary meeting between the two parties in Chevening in June, and endorsed the Chevening declaration. We also attended the signing of the Dubai Declaration in the margins of the counter-piracy conference in Dubai, and we will continue to support constructive dialogue.
Does your office in Somaliland will issue visas apart from other tasks?
The office will not be issuing visas. All visa applications should continue to be made through our offices in Addis Ababa or Nairobi. Please see our UK in Somalia website for further details. In the future we will consider what consular services we could look to provide.
Do you see British government deeply engage with Somaliland compared to how Italy works closely with Somalia?
We plan to open an office in Hargeisa to help the UK strengthen its relationship with Somaliland across a range of our work together. The office will be a UK liaison office, to help facilitate visits and closer working with the Somaliland authorities. In time this will help to enhance our co-operation with Somaliland, including on creating prosperity and economic development. We will continue to engage with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia through the British Office for Somalia in Nairobi.