Today, Lord Triesman met the leader of Somaliland, H.E. Dahir Rayale Kahin, who is visiting the UK as a guest of the British Government. Accompanying Somaliland Ministers also met senior officials in the Home Office and Department for International Development.
After the meeting Lord Triesman said: "I had an excellent meeting with H. E. Dahir Rayale Kahin this morning. The United Kingdom has good relations with the Somaliland authorities, who have achieved stability and established democratic institutions in a troubled region. We want to work with them to consolidate those achievements and assist in Somaliland's development".
Notes to Editor: Somaliland:
The former British Protectorate of Somaliland united with Somalia after independence in 1960, but broke away after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991 and seeks international recognition as an independent republic.
UK Support: DFID run a £15.5m programme covering Somalia as a whole. However a large portion of the project portfolio (both development and humanitarian) is specific to Somaliland. Here the UK is providing significant support (approx £5m/$9m), through UN and NGO actors, to Somaliland's overall democracy and governance strengthening including rule of law and justice sectors; and the education sector including increasing girls' enrolment and the quality of education. As the UK's programme grows, we expect to increase our support to basic services, good governance and economic recovery. It is estimated that about 40 percent of all international aid to Somalia (about $170 million per year) is spent in Somaliland. The security situation in the North ensures that agencies can work more effectively than in the South
H. E. Dahir Riyale Kahin: from the ruling Unity of Democrats (UDUB) party, won Somaliland's first multi-party presidential elections in April 2003 with a slim majority. He was appointed in 2002 by Somaliland's council of elders, following the death of his predecessor Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. On taking office he said his priorities would be to ensure the territory's continued security and to press for international recognition for its independence. Voters went to the polls in September 2005 to elect a new parliament; MPs had hitherto been chosen by clans through a process of consultation. Somaliland's leaders saw the election as the culmination of a democratic process which, they hoped, would better the chances of international recognition.
Press Office, Downing Street (West), London SW1A 2AL
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Source; British Government News Network