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Somaliland Parliament Speaker Received By His UK Counterpart, Major Political Parties
London, March 11, 2006 – The speaker of Somaliland parliament Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Erro) held separate talks in London Thursday with officials from Britain’s 3 major political parties; Labor, the Conservatives and the Liberals.
On Wednesday, Abdirahman Erro met with the acting speaker of the British House of Commons, Ms Sylvia Heal in London .
“The honorable acting speaker of the House of Commons received us well and after briefing her on Somaliland’s democratic achievements, we have raised with her a number of issues including a possible UK institutional support for our newly elected parliament” Erro told the Somaliland Times shortly after the meeting.
During the meeting with the British parliament speaker, Abdirahman Erro who is from the opposition Welfare and Justice Party, was accompanied by Abdul Qadir Jirde, current member and former deputy speaker of the House.
The request for the meeting received support from a number of MPs led by Allun Michael of Cardiff . However Ms Heal who officially holds the position of deputy speaker had to clear it with the Foreign Office before giving her consent. The British parliament’s current speaker, Michael Martin, has been on a medical leave.
While in the House of Commons, Abdirahman Erro also met briefly with the Pakistani prime-minister Shoukat Aziz who was scheduled to appear before a special session on Islam , Pakistan and the conflict in Kashmir .
In the next few days, Erro is expected to address meetings to be organized by Somaliland communities living in a number of UK cities such as Sheffield and Birmingham .
The visit to the UK by the Somaliland parliament’s speaker originally started in Cardiff , Wales , where he attended the 1 st of March opening of the Welsh National Assembly’s Senedd building by the Queen. He was one of the officially invited list of guests representing parliaments in 90 countries.
The invitation was issued by the Senedd at the request of the Somaliland community in Wales , the oldest African group to settle in the UK . The request also received support from a consortium of Welsh politicians and civic leaders.
The visit has been viewed by observers as another sign of the growing international acceptance of Somaliland ’s defacto independence.
Erro was chosen as speaker of the lower house of parliament following the September 2005 legislative elections. The opposition’s Welfare and Justice Party (UCID) and the Solidarity Party (KULMIYE) had between them won 49 of the 82-seat parliament.
Meanwhile speaker Erro met Thursday with officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London . He also took part in another meeting held in the British parliament on the issue of economic development in Somaliland .
The meeing was attended by many British and Somaliland officials. Participants included KULMIYE party leader, Ahmed Sillanyo, Paul Heal (Dfid), Martin Lambert, FCO, eastern Africa department, Abdul Qadir Jirde, MP, Ambassador Myles Wickstead (Africa Commission), Anna Lake (Horn of Africa, Dfid), Daniel Drake (Second secretary –political – UK Embassy, Addis Ababa), David Brooks (Anglo-Somali Society), Edward Mason (Independent diplomat), Sally Healy (Independent diplomat), Robin Gwynn, FCO, head of Africa depart (Equatorial), Martin Hill (Amnesty International), Robin Le Mare (Action Aid), Richard Dowden (RAS), Kaysar Abdillahi (Editor, Somali Voice), Mustafa Abdi Gamute (Bristol), Said Jama (Bristol), Hussein Assad (Bristol), Hassan Hussein Shide (Bristol), Lul Farah (Somaliland Forum), Abdifatah Said (Somaliland Govt) and Osman Ahmed Hassan (Somaliland Govt).
Source: Somaliland Times