Somalia says will work with UAE as Gulf nation halts military support

The move by UAE to cut funding to Somali military now means the government will have to find alternative source of funds to pay the salaries of 2,407 soldiers who were hitherto under UAE payroll.

File : Anadolu

By T. Roble

Somalia has sought to de-escalate the diplomatic fall out with UAE noting it had received satisfactory response regarding the $9.6 seized last week at Mogadishu airport even as the Gulf nation struck a retaliatory note Sunday night cancelling military training and financing of Somalia military.

In a statement to newsrooms Monday, the Foreign Affairs ministry said the government will work together with the UAE in the utilization of the funds but maintained the country’s territorial integrity was not subject to question.

“After lengthy deliberations between the two governments on the recent incident involving funds that were intercepted at the Aden Adde International Airport on 8th April 2018, the UAE has explained the purpose and the utilization of the said funds and the Federal Government will work together with the UAE on their utilization.”

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But that statement seems to have come late in the day as UAE said a few hours earlier it was ending military training and payment of salaries for the soldier as a result of the airport incident.

“The UAE has decided to disband its military training programme in Somalia which started in 2014 to build the capabilities of the Somali army,” the Emirati government said in a statement through its official news agency, WAM.

“The decision,” UAE said, “Comes in response to Somali security forces’ seizure of a UAE-registered civil aircraft at Mogadishu Airport and confiscation of money destined to pay the soldiers.”

NO FIRM POSITION

This comes even as Defense Minister Mohamed Mursal indicated his remarks last week regarding ending UAE support for Somalia appeared to have been taken out of context. “My statement last week was not properly understood,” Mursal told Goobjoog News. “We have to look at the bigger picture; we have the responsibility as a government to train and pay our soldiers.

The minister however remained cagey on whether the government was officially cutting off the UAE support. “We are still on this matter and I will respond adequately later.”

Somalia added Monday it welcomes UAE’s support in countering terrorism and as a trade partner. “Somalia hopes the UAE can be a contributing partner to these efforts as a counterterrorism and trade partner.”

The move by UAE to cut funding to Somali military now means the government will have to find alternative source of funds to pay the salaries of 2,407 soldiers who were hitherto under UAE payroll.

GULF CRISIS

Relations between Somalia, and in particular the Federal Government have been rocky since the onset of Gulf dispute June last year when Somalia declared it would maintain a neutral stand.

Months later however, Federal Member states among them Galmudug, Puntland and HirShabelle besides the break-away region of Somaliland chose to stick with the Saudi Arabia-UAE axis leaving the Federal Government to fend off an internal rift while balancing its neutrality status.

But the government’s dalliance with Qatar, now an arch-enemy of UAE appears to have made Somalia the proxy war battle ground for these Gulf powers.

 

 

 

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