SOMALILAND: Swedish diplomats arrive in Hargeisa
HARGEISA — President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud hosted a Swedish delegation consisting of four ambassadors in his residence in the capital Hargeisa on Monday.
A press release by the Presidential Spokesman, Mr Abdullahi Mohamed Dahir ‘Aukusow’ said the delegates will be in the country for a two-day official visit and will hold independent talks with the Department of Finance, Planning, Foreign Affairs, leaders of the three political parties, members of Parliament, the press and aid agencies.
The President warmly welcomed Ambassador Ann Dismorr, Head of the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, Ambassador Marika Fahlem, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Elizabeth Hedin, In Charge of Development Cooperation to Somalia and Ambassador Joran Bjallersted, Ambassador for Somali peace process.
President Ahmed briefed the visiting diplomats about Somaliland’s history, democratization process, stability and challenges it faces. The two sides then discussed areas of common interest and development co-operations.
The statement added the Swedish delegation were on a fact-finding mission to gathered data on areas Somaliland needs with Sweden’s assistance. The delegation disclosed that the Swedish government was ready to boost their development assistance for Somaliland after the successful election and transferring of power.
The Swedish delegation said their government was committed in supporting democracy, stability and development in the region and in the ongoing war on terror.
The Swedish visit comes week after a delegation from Denmark left the country after they agreed to also boost assistance for Somaliland.
The European visit follows recent announcement by Washington where it said it was outlining a new two-track approach towards Somaliland and Somalia. The U.S. Department of State revealed it was willing to engage with the government of Somaliland in order to combat the threat of al-Shabaab militia and the piracy in the Somali coast.
The West has hailed Somaliland’s recent elections, its ongoing efforts to combat piracy and the stability it has maintained for the last two decades.
Aid for Somaliland by Western nations is expected to double in the next year while a number of United Nation agencies are expected to shift their operations from the Kenyan capital to Hargeisa. The U.S. which previously provided Somaliland with $7 million in aids said this year it was providing over $26 million. Sweden is also one of the top three aid donors to Somaliland after the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
An American delegation consisting of diplomats and aid workers is expected to arrive after the Swedes.