William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, visited Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday. Hague is one of the most senior British officials to visit the country in almost two decades.
Hague spent time meeting with Somalia’s President Sharif Sheih Ahmed ahead of a meeting to be held in London on February 23rd tasked with dealing with the various crises facing the Horn of Africa today.
The New Year marks an important point in time for UK relations with Burma as William Hague becomes the first UK Foreign Secretary to visit the country in over 50 years. The historic visit, which took place January 5th - 6th 2012, was dominated by discussion with political leaders such as President Thein Sein, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of ethnic minorities. Hague stated that the aim of the trip was to encourage the Burmese government to continue on its path to reform and to gauge what Britain can do to continue to support the reform process.
The International Afghanistan Conference in Bonn, Germany was held this week. The conference, hosted by the Germans and chaired by the Afghans, served not only as an opportunity to reflect on the international community’s role in Afghanistan, but also as an opportunity for the international community to reinforce its views and commitment to the country. The ninety delegations and one thousand participants continued developing methods to ensure that the Afghan government is able to secure its people, future and security, and to help make certain Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists. Although the Bonn conference has brought Afghanistan back into the spotlight, it is important to note that the UK needs to discuss its future plans in Afghanistan more regularly and more transparently.
Tension between the international community and Iran is mounting. With the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ready to issue a report on Tehran’s attempts of developing nuclear weapons, with recent claims that scientists from Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea have all played an important role in helping Iran come close to full nuclear capacity, and perhaps most crucially, with Israel warning of the possibility of launching a pre-emptive attack, every move now made in the international arena is crucial. While the US and UK weigh up their military options, we must ask: should the UK really get involved?
The past week will undoubtedly be retold incessantly as a fundamental week in Libya’s history. The death of Muammar Gaddafi has prompted celebrations across Libya and grand statements from world leaders. Furthermore, the Transitional Council (NTC) leaders have officially announced the liberation from the Gaddafi regime at a celebratory event held Sunday in Benghazi. However, as a formal end is put to the dictator’s 42-year rule and as celebrations of liberation continue, the real test for Libya begins as the country prepares for life after Gaddafi.