A historic visit by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to Somalia has produced Britain's first ambassador to the poor country in over 20 years. The ambassador will work from Kenya until security in Somalia improves.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has made the first visit by a British foreign minister to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in over 20 years. During the trip, Hague named Britain's first ambassador to Somalia since 1991.
Matt Baugh, who previously held the post as Britain's senior representative to Somalia, will work from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, until the security situation in Somalia allows for a proper embassy to be opened, Hague said.
Hague's surprise trip comes in the run-up to a global conference on Somalia that will be hosted in London on February 23. He said his visit was a "sign of Britain's commitment to the people and country of Somalia."
Somalia has been torn by civil war for the better part of two decades. Widespread famine has worsened the problems brought on by instability.
The government in Mogadishu is backed by a force of 10,000 troops from the African Union, which has helped drive out al Shabaab, a local al Qaeda insurgency. Al Shabaab is still very present in other parts of the country.
mz/cmk (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)