EXCLUSIVE: Pressure is mounting in both the UK and USA to recognise a key ally in the Horn of Africa as the Houthi crisis escalates.

A former Defence Secretary and ex-Attorney General have called on the UK and US to “move quickly” in recognising a vital African country which could be key to tackling the Red Sea Houthi crisis.

With one of the world’s most important shipping lanes under siege from the Houthi factions in Yemen, Sir Gavin Williamson and Sir Michael Ellis have urged both the Joe Biden administration and the UK Government to formally recognise Somaliland which is strategically placed on the Gulf of Aden.

It comes as pressure is mounting in Washington DC for Biden to follow the British lead on Somaliland, a former UK protectorate which gained independence in 1960, after Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron told MPs he was “sympathetic” to formal recognition of Somaliland.

Sir Gavin has told Express.co.uk that “sentiment is shifting” on the international status of the African country.

It has in effect been independent for 33 years having joined Somalia in 1960 days after leaving the British Empire. But even though its borders are internationally recognised from its previous status as a British protectorate, the international community has accepted Somalia’s claim to the country.

Matters were further complicated by Barack Obama accepting Somalia’s claim when he was President and Biden was his Vice President.

But with a vital international trade route under threat pressure on Biden to reverse that decision has been revealed in an article in the influential The Hill publication, based in Washington DC.


Contributor Eliot Wilson, who used to be clerk to the Commons Defence Select Committee, urged recognition.