Sheikh Mountains of Somaliland
Somaliland defence minister is visiting Sweden
His excellency hon. Abdulla Ali, Somaliland defence minister is arrived
today, 18 march in Sweden. The defence minister is invited by the
Gothenburg Intiative (Göteborgs intiativet) together with Somaliland
Organisation in Gothenburg. During his visit the minister will meet
swedish politicians, government officials and Somaliland diaspora in
Sweden. His excellency Abdulla Ali have been living in Sweden before he
went back to become a minister in Somaliland.
The Swedish government is active in Somaliland and Somalia politics. A delegation led by Ambassador Marika Fahlèn, Special Envoy Horn of Africa, Ministry for Foreign Affairs Sweden visited Somaliland 11-12 march 2009. Other members of the swedish delegation are Ambassador Jöran Bjällerstedt, Special Envoy to the Somali Peace process, Anna Hamrell, Desk Officer Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Magnus Carlquist, Country Director Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The delegation met the vice-president of Somaliland, political parties, National Election Commission and civil society organisations.
The Swedish Government has given the Swedish Navy the green light to participate in the EU's mission to eliminate piracy off the coast of Somalia. The Swedish mission will involve the Swedish Navy corvettes HMS Stockholm and HMS Malmö, accompanied by the support vessel HMS Trossö.
Pirate attacks against shipping are a growing problem in many parts of the world. A total of about 230 attacks were reported last year, some 1 00 of which occurred in the waters off Somalia, where the Swedish Navy has now been tasked by the UN with protecting seaborne food relief en route to the country's starving population. The Gulf of Aden is especially dangerous to enter or pass through.
The Swedish force totals 160 personnel. The Navy's mission is to protect the food transports, not to track or pursue the pirates. Even so, the mission is highly dangerous, and if support vessels are attacked, the UN's rules of engagement permit the use of armed force. This means that the vessels would be free to use their weapons.
The Somaliland government have a lot to contribute when it comes fighting against piracy in the Red sea and the visit of the Defence minister will contribute in that regard.