Sweden’s Foreign Policy towards Somalia.

Interview with Cecilia Julin, swedish ambassador in Madrid.

By: Nathalie González

-You are the first Swedish female ambassador here, how did you end up in Madrid and how is your day to day life as an ambassador?

-The post as an ambassador was available  in 2011, I applied for it at my department and eventually they chose me for my  CV and languages. As I had already been an ambassador and have a large summary of works, the ministry of foreign affairs trusted I was suitable for the post.My day to day life consists of representing and promoting Swedish interests in all areas in Spain. At the embassy we also provide service to Swedish authorities, companies, organizations and individual citizens. I also regularly send reports to the ministry in Sweden with information and analysis of different areas for example at this moment a priority for foreign missions is to promote Swedish economic interests abroad by providing services to Swedish companies and encourage foreign investment in Sweden.

-Swedish Embassy in Madrid is likely to hold in high esteem among Swedish Foreign Ministry employees?

-It’s among the best jobs in Europe, an attractive service to come to Spain.

It will be the second time that Cecilia Julin service as ambassador to Sweden abroad. The first time was in 2003 when she set up embassy in Slovakia until 2006. Then waited for the role of Communications at the Foreign Ministry. That means she has been in charge at the State Department for the communication to the public and to Swedish and foreign media, Press Officer and Web Manager.

-If you choose Diplomatic Programme at the Foreign Office, what chance do you have to work as a career diplomat?

-If you are looking into and entering the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic program, you will after completing the programme be sent out on your first posting abroad and your  “career”  will be started.

-In 1995 you were working as an Assistant General Director for relations trade with Africa. Is there anything you can say about the relations with Somalia today?

-Sweden participates actively in the efforts to bring about a lasting solution to the situation in Somalia, including through the International Contact Group on Somalia, led by UN Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. Sweden’s ambassador to Somalia, based in Nairobi, where also the Swedish aid office for Somalia is. The Government’s commitment to Somalia is significant, largely because there are a large number of people with Somali origin in Sweden.

-Does Sweden currently have an Ambassador for Somalia?

-Mikael Lindvall is currently Special Envoy for Somalia and his new post as ambassador to Somalia, is based in Nairobi.

-Sweden was in 2012 the third largest bilateral humanitarian donor  in the world after the U.S. and Britain. Since 2005, the Swedish contributions to humanitarian assistance has increased from 3.3 to over 5 billion in 2012. How much of this money was sent to Somalia?

-London held a high-level international conference on Somalia in order to give the Somali government international support in rebuilding the country because Somalia has for some time been badly affected by the conflict and climate-related crises. Somalia has taken several steps forward in the past year with a new president and a new government and Humanitarian aid has been important and will continue to play a role. In 2012, Somalia received a total of 155 million- more or less in humanitarian assistance from Sweden. Aid in Somalia allocated as a page to UN agencies, including UNICEF. For 2013, Sweden has committed SEK 146 million in aid to Somalia, with a focus on disaster preparedness and increase the resilience of vulnerable groups.

-How Is the situation in Somalia today? And is there any future? Can Sweden help?

– For the first time in many years, there is hope for the future of Somalia. The world stands ready to increase its involvement, and at the international Somalia conference in London to show their support for the new government’s development plans.

Sweden is obviously there. We are heavily involved in Somalia’s development since long, and by the EU, the UN and NGOs we work to support the country that focus on tangible results. Now we can also work increasingly with Somalia’s new government. Sweden participates in all EU safety promotion efforts in Somalia, and we have for many years been one of the largest donors to the country.


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