Somalia’s President Hassan Shaikh Mahmoud visited the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, discussing ways to strengthen bilateral ties, state news agency WAM reported.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) army Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday received Somalia’s president.
Sheikh Mohamed said he wished Somalia further stability and prosperity, stressing that the UAE, under the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will continue to support humanitarian and developmental efforts in Somalia.
For his part, Somali President Mahmoud expressed appreciation for the UAE’s efforts and initiatives in Somalia.
“I am here to tell you Somalia has changed a lot for the better,” said the Somali president, adding that his country witnessed “a marked progress” also thanks to the support given by the UAE.
The two sides also discussed regional developments and issues of mutual interest.
The Somali president’s visit took place two months after a deadly incident in Somalia aimed at an UAE convoy.
On June 24, a car bomb exploded as an UAE aid convoy drove through the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The attack killed three Somali security officers and wounded at least seven more people, including some civilians. The UAE ambassador to Somalia who was aboard was unhurt.
The Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
The UAE Minister of State Anwar Al-Gargarsh condemned then the attack in the strongest form, saying that “terrorist action” would not mitigate the Gulf state’s support for Somalia.
The UAE has been supporting the East African country which suffers from turmoil in some parts of the country to fight piracy off its coast.
The Emirati city of Dubai has been hosting since 2011 the annual international counter-piracy summit. In 2013, the summit focused on rebuilding Somalia.
According to Dubai daily Khaleej Times, the UAE has launched in Somalia in recent years infrastructure projects to help revive the country’s economy.