, LONDON, Apr 25 – British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday opened a new embassy in Mogadishu, 22 years after London pulled its diplomats from conflict-torn Somalia.
The move makes Britain the first EU nation to return to Somalia and comes ahead of a major conference on the future of the Horn of Africa nation in London on May 7.
Hague was accompanied by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Foreign office said in a statement.
“I am in Mogadishu at the new British Embassy I’ve just reopened 22 years after UK evacuated diplomats,” Hague said in a tweet.
Hague said in a statement from the Foreign Office that he was “delighted” to be “raising the Union Jack to mark the formal opening of a new British embassy.”
Hague added that the reopening showed Britain’s “commitment to work with the federal government of Somalia as they rebuild their country after two decades of conflict.”
The Foreign Office said it was the first time Britain has had an embassy in Somalia since 1991, when the embassy was closed and the ambassador and his staff evacuated.
“This makes the UK the first EU country to re-open an embassy in Somalia,” it said.
The new embassy is on a site leased to the British government by Somalia.