‘We are here as some of (the) close friends of Somaliland’

“This is a distinguished delegation of colleague, ambassadors and representatives of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, the UK and the European Union” Ambassador Mette Knudsen of Denmark began her brief of the press at the conclusion of a meeting the delegation had with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi.

Ambassador Knudsen called the meeting which the delegation had with the president ‘productive and very interesting’.

“We had a productive and very interesting discussion with His Excellency the president and several of his ministers.

“We are here as some of (the) close friends of Somaliland,” Ambassador Knudsen states, adding that the delegation expressed its concern on the humanitarian situation in Somaliland caused by the continued drought in the country.

The two sides, the Ambassador said, also discussed Somaliland’s relations with its neighbours.

“We were very pleased with the strong commitment from the President to have a good dialogue with Somalia,” she stated.

Ambassador Knudsen said the discussions they had with the President and his government also covered the upcoming elections as members of the delegation were supporters of Somaliland’s ‘democratic process’.

“We have discussed with the president our hope that it will be possible to find a compromise with political actors that will lead to elections this year,” Ambassador Knudsen said.

The ambassador reasoned, besides the obvious, that holding the elections on time and as promised was ‘part of the good image that Somaliland has in the international community’ and that it was imperative that Somaliland not discontinue its democratic record which it had set in the past.

His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor Yassin Mohamoud Hiir ‘Faratoon’, speaking before the Ambassador, stated that the two sides frankly discussed issues revolving around the ominous drought looming over Somaliland, the political process and especially as pertaining to the scheduled parliamentary elections and the commitment to continue talking with Somalia.

Present at the meeting on the Somaliland side besides His Excellency the President were the Vice president, Abdirahman Abdullahi Ismail, Minister for Interior, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, the Foreign Minister, Professor Faratoon, Finance, Dr Sa’ad Ali Shire, and Planning, Awale Ibrahim Shirwa’.

With Ambassador Mette Knudsen, Denmark, there was, also, Ambassador Fulgencio Garrido Ruiz of the European Union, Ambassador Ben Fender of the United Kingdom, Ambassador Elin Bergithe Rognilie of Norway, Ambassador Andreas Von Uexkull of Sweden and high Embassy representatives from Switzerland and Finland – Head of Somalia Office at the Switzerland Embassy, Siro Beltrametti,and First Secretary at the Finnish Embassy, Toni Sandell, respectively. Also included were the First Secretary at the Danish Embassy, Adam Sparre Spliid, Senior Advisor at the Swedish Embassy, Johan Svensson, and the First Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy, Svein Olaf Svoldal. Stuart Brown, the United Kingdom representative in Somaliland, played a key role in the delegation’s relaxed, fruitful working visit.

Members of the delegation also met with the Parliament finding time, too, to leisurely stroll around town checking out the local scene.Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, table and indoor Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, table, outdoor and indoorImage may contain: 1 person, standing, suit and indoorImage may contain: 12 people, people smiling, people standing and suit

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