, OTTAWA, May 15 – Canada announced on Tuesday it is restoring diplomatic relations with Somalia, more than two decades after severing ties with the strife-torn African nation.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made the announcement after meeting here with Augustine Mahiga, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia.
The government said in a statement that David Angell, Canada’s High Commissioner in Kenya, now will also be accredited as ambassador to Somalia.
The Canadian government ended diplomatic relations with Mogadishu in 1990.
The statement said Baird and Mahiga “discussed the progress made by the Somali government over the past year,” as well as the creation of a “more representative and accountable government” which it called “a critical step toward rebuilding Somalia.”
The statement added that the troubled African country “faces enormous challenges and will need the support of the international community for some time.”
The move to resume relations comes less than a month after Britain opened a new embassy in Mogadishu, 22 years after London pulled its diplomats from Somalia.
It also follows a major conference held in London last week on the future of the Horn of Africa nation, attended by representatives from more than 50 countries and organizations.
Canada is home to one of the world’s largest communities of Somalis in exile, numbered at around 170,000 people.