William Hague (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Richmond (Yorks), Conservative)
I am pleased to inform the House that the British Office in Hargeisa opened formally on 3 September, in line with my intent to establish a presence in Mogadishu and Hargeisa as soon as local conditions allow. This office enables officials to stay in Hargeisa for short periods to carry out diplomatic work in Somaliland. Because of the security situation, this office will not have any consular functions, and we have not changed our advice on travel to the region. Staff are already able to travel and stay in our office in Mogadishu, where work continues on plans to reopen the embassy as soon as local circumstances permit.
The new office in Hargeisa and future British embassy in Mogadishu are part of the expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network that I announced to the House on 4 September, Hansard, column 152. This involves the opening of up to 11 new embassies, up to eight new British consulates/British trade offices and the redeployment of around 300 extra staff in more than 20 countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
I will provide the House with a further update on UK diplomatic representation in Somalia as progress is made.