Norman Terret gets a job advising Somaliland on how to develop good relations with the world — and especially Israel

By Candice Krieger, July 31, 2008

Fancy a trip to Somaliland? Scottish-born businessman Norman Terret would certainly recommend it.

Mr Terret, chairman of the Jewish Lads' & Girls' Brigade (JLGB), has been appointed senior adviser to the Somaliland government.

On the eastern horn of Africa, Somaliland, which shares controlled borders with Somalia and Ethiopia, is a predominantly Muslim state with a democratic government. It has a population of around four million and significant oil and mineral resources.

Mr Terret's main brief? To secure recognition from the UN and foster commercial relations between Israel and Somaliland.

"What attracted me to the role is that the people of Somaliland want a good relationship with Israel and the Western countries," says Mr Terret, who has recently returned from Africa. He tells People: "Somaliland has oil, minerals and a huge tourist potential benefiting from the Red Sea ports. Being in such a strategic position could make it a very helpful and powerful ally for Israel, and the friendship between Israel and Somaliland could be very important strategically for other countries."

Mr Terret, who is in his early 50s, has been made chief executive of Somaliland's national oil company, Prime Resources, which owns mineral rights in the country.

Does he not have any security concerns? "Somaliland can be compared to Israel," he says. "It is surrounded by unfriendly neighbours and compares its struggle for independence to Israel's in 1948. The people are not interested in extremism. It is a peaceful country."

A former president of the Telecom Associates Group, Mr Terret is believed to be the first UK citizen to be given the Compagnon de l'Europe - a business prize awarded by the European Commission.

Last updated: 11:06am, August 1 2008