Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined Tehran’s readiness to expand all-out ties with Somalia and also help the African country in its ongoing fight against Al-Shabab fighters.
“Iran is ready to expand its relations with the Muslim government and nation of Somalia in all areas and cooperate with that country for the establishment of peace, stability and security in campaign against terrorism and extremism,” Amir Abdollahian said in a meeting with the visiting Somalian Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Gouled Hossein Qassem in Tehran on Saturday.
Amir Abdollahian, meantime, condemned the Friday terrorist attack on a hotel in Mogadishu which resulted in the death and injury of tens of people, including a number of senior Somali officials.
The Somali posts and telecommunications minister, for his part, called for the further expansion of mutual cooperation with Iran, and said, “Somalia is the gate to a 300-million-strong market and the Islamic Republic of Iran can gain access to the markets of many regional countries through Somalia.”
In November, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in a meeting with Somali Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari voiced Tehran’s readiness to provide technical and professional assistance to the Somali government.
“Iran can help Somalia in technical and professional training,” Larijani said during the meeting on the sidelines of his visit to Djibouti.
The Iranian parliament speaker reiterated that Iran is considering long-term relations with the Somali government.
Larijani pointed to the presence of Iranian warships in the high seas, and said, “Iran is ready to cooperate with Somalia to fight international pirates in the region.”
The Somali parliament speaker, for his part, pointed to the status quo of Somalia-Iran relations, and said, “I invite you (Iranian parliament speaker) to visit Somalia in a bid to strengthen the historical bonds between the two countries as well as economic and political relations.”
Iran is an observing member of the African Union (AU) and has shown an active presence in previous AU summit meetings.
The country is considered as one of the AU’s strategic partners along with India, Japan, China, several South American states and Turkey, while Tehran is also believed to be prioritizing promotion of its economic and political ties with the African states.