World Bulletin/News Desk
Britain opened an embassy on Thursday in a set of four metal cabins at Mogadishu airport.
It was the first such move by a Western power since Somalia began to emerge from more than two decades of conflict. Turkey and Iran are among others vying for influence in the Horn of Africa country, with growing commercial ties and diplomatic missions already up and running.
"It is a symbol of our confidence and belief in the future of Somalia," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who flew in on an unannounced visit to watch the Union Jack flag hoisted above the cabins, generator and satellite dish within the airport perimeter fence.
"This is a sign of where Somalia is now heading to," said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
"Somalia is going back to the international arena," he added, expressing hope that other Western states would follow suit.
The British government says now is "the best time in a generation for Somalia to get back onto the road to recovery." Britain will host an international conference in London on May 7 on ways to bolster security, impose the rule of law and rebuild the nation.
At the new embassy, due to be fully operational from late July, diplomats will live and work for a few weeks at a time in rotation behind two big blast walls, squeezed between the airport runway on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other.
Other countries with embassies in Mogadishu include Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran.
Last Mod: 25 Nisan 2013, 16:20