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 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.
The unrest in Syria, which I discuss in length in a previous article entitled “Violence in Syria,” has once again come to the forefront of UK foreign policy news. Not only did Russia and China recently make the decision to veto a UN resolution calling on Syria to stop hostility against its own people, but yesterday marked the Universal Periodic Review on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council. As the Syrian Government continues to kill, torture or jail mostly anybody wanting reform, the UK continues to take every opportunity to highlight the violence which simply does not seem to be stopping. Foreign Secretary William Hague says Britain will “continue to stand side by side with the Syrian people and redouble efforts to work with international partners to increase pressure on the regime.”
The United Kingdom takes pride in its commitment to global gender equality making it fair to concede that it has done a respectable job of being at the forefront of many gender development decisions. Most recently, it made clear its dedication to the new UN Women which I have previously discussed in a separate article. Therefore, when King Abdullah announced that women in Saudi Arabia have been given the right to vote and to run in future municipal elections, it was inevitably welcomed by the UK.
During my Masters, my tutor recommended that we all sign up for alerts for FCO press alerts. This is something which has proved invaluable as a tool for me as I quickly found out there you can get much more in-depth knowledge about the events of the world than if you were to rely on the articles found in a lot of newspapers. One such article cropped up in my inbox the other day; the European Union Act has now entered into force. One of the main elements of this piece of legislation is that it is now a legal requirement for the government to hold a referendum before ministers agree for the transfer of any power from Westminster to Brussels. The government argue that in effect it stops future governments from being able to go behind the backs of their people with such things as the Lisbon Treaty. Read the rest of this entry