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EXCLUSIVE: UK Minister for Africa meets President, PM in Mogadishu, urges against poll delay

Storyline:National News

The election of a new president and MPs in Somalia must be expedited without any delays, British Minister for Africa Tobias Ellwood said while meeting President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and PM Abdirashid Sharmarke Tuesday.

In an exclusive interview with Goobjoog News in Mogadishu Tuesday, Ellwood said Somalia was entering a very important chapter adding the elections should take place as soon as possible to actualize the new beginning.

“We encourage the elections to take place as soon as possible. We really don’t want too much of a delay between the end of the mandate themselves in parliament and the president and the elections themselves. We got to get them right. So we do encourage them to happen as soon as possible,” said Ellwood.

International community

Ellwood said he impressed upon the President and the Prime Minister in a meeting in the capital Mogadishu on the need to ensure the polls are conducted in time noting the international community was looking forward to the exercise being conducted without any further delays.

“We discussed the forth coming election that need to take place and it is part of the electoral process which we need to see; the international community is looking forward to seeing,” the British Minister told Goobjoog News.

Listen to interview here

Interview with Tobias Ellwood

Regarding Britain’s decision to exit the European Union following the June 23 Brexit vote, Ellwood said his country will remain committed to continuing its bilateral relations and support for Somalia just as it will actively continue its role in the international arena.

Said Ellwood, “I can confirm there is every intention for Britain to remain fully engaged on the international stage. When it comes to countries like Somalia we are the pen holders. We remain a permanent member of the UN and fully committed with the desire and determination to play our role in the international stage and that am sure will continue here in Somalia as well.”

Brexit vote

The Minister who also met Somali good will ambassadors underscored Britain’s commitment to bolstering security and economic growth in Somalia.

“Along with other countries, Britain wants to see the electoral form continue, to see strengthening of the security capability as well. But also with one eye on the economic opportunities too and that’s what I spent the day discussing,” Ellwood said.

Somalia is expected to hold presidential and parliamentary elections as from this month. Parliament’s term comes to a close 19th this month while that of the president will fold up early September.

However the Federal Indirect Election Implementation Team is yet to announce the election dates.