Somaliland is a friend in an unstable world and must be recognised, says Sir Michael Ellis

Sir Michael Ellis has just returned from the former British protectorate of Somaliland and explains why the UK must lead the way in formally recognising it.
The Red Sea is a crucial artery for international trade- and the free passage of it is essential for the maintenance of international order.
The strategic importance of this area has been highlighted in recent weeks by the damage caused to world trade by yet another of Iran’s terrorist proxies, this time the Houthis in Yemen, and their persistent attacks on maritime flow.
Most cargo vessels now prefer to take alternative routes at enormous expense and delay rather than risk piratical attacks or drone strikes.
Meanwhile, despite repeated countermeasures by the Americans and British, the Houthis continue their offensive, risking loss of life on board these vessels as well as oil pollution from damaged tankers and the economic damage caused by diverting the flow of international trade.
But the West have a little-known strategic ally in the Red Sea region which could help restore stability to troubled waters- indeed a friendly pro-West government on the coast of East Africa, bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
A country with historic colonial ties to the UK- the former British Protectorate of Somaliland.
Somaliland has been actively trying to build relationships with the West. In the United States this has apparently angered the controversial Democratic Representative Ilan Omar of Minnesota who has recently been accused of siding with Somalia in a speech which she says was incorrectly translated.
Somaliland is not currently recognised by the international community as an independent state, which is ironic as it was under British control from the 1880s, a British colony from 1898 and a British Protectorate until its orderly independence in 1960.
Today its borders are exactly the same as those signed over to them by the late Queen’s representative Lord Mountbatten in June 1960.