Ambassador Harriet Mathews of the United Kingdom stated that her country’s role in the on-going talks between Somaliland and Somalia is currently limited to that of an ‘encourager’ and that Britain can actively join in the mediation only if both sides invite them to.
The Ambassador, who granted a 16-minute interview to Horn Cable TV conducted by veteran journalist, Mohamed Haji Abdi Ali “Duale’, spoke of a number of issues that spanned over political matters such as the Somalia-Somaliland talks and elections, economic issues, and development cooperation.
The Ambassador hoped that Somaliland hold presidential and parliamentary elections on time and as planned. She said any delays to that may result in undesirable consequences sending a wrong message about Somaliland to the international community.
Ambassador Mathews stated that some of the opposition members in Somaliland also voiced their opposition to any changes to the scheduled elections highlighting that all of Somaliland stakeholders did not harbour or countenance the possibility of a postponement. The response followed a question that Duale put to her why there should be a problem if all primary actors in the electoral process decided to push back elections for national reasons.
Speaking of the possibility of a Consulate office in Hargeisa, she said the British tax-payer expected efficiency and as British Missions exist in both Nairobi and nearby Addis Ababa, there was no pressing need for such an office at this stage.
Ms. Mathews urged Somaliland to build on its track record and reach out to the international community based on that, calling the recent petition by Somalilanders to the world ‘wonderful’ as it showed the desire of its people.
The Ambassador promised that her government will work with SL on development programs and that they would see to it their intervention has the desired impact on the ground.