Somali FM to visit China to seek cooperation

Updated: 2013-08-20 09:56


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MOGADISHU -- Somali Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf on Monday headed a government delegation to China for an official visit, the first to the East Asian country by a senior official of the current administration of the Horn of Africa nation.

Yusuf, who is also deputy prime minister, was accompanied in the trip to the Chinese capital Beijing by State Minister for the Interior and National Security Mahdi Mohamoud Ali, Deputy Minister for Reconstruction Nadiifa Mohamed Osman and other high-ranking officials, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said.

"The delegation will meet various Chinese government officials on ways of further strengthening the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries," the statement said.

While taking tentative steps to recover from two decades of conflict, Somalia has been working to improve relations with the outside world.

Diplomatic relations between Somalia and China have a long history. In 2006, Somalia's then president Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed visited China and revived the bilateral ties after years of hiatus due to the raging conflict in the country.

As the situation has gradually improved, trade between the two nations has seen an increase to broaden prospects for economic cooperation in the future.

Before the civil war broke out in Somalia, China implemented various development projects including a national sports stadium, a theater in the capital Mogadishu and hundreds of km of roads throughout the country.

Officials say the current visit will pave the way for development projects to be built by Chinese companies and the direct investment in the Somali economy.