By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOSCOW: Russia has said it is ready to supply weapons to Somalia to fight terrorism in what could spark a possible furore among key donors such as the U.S, EU and the UK which heavily finance the Somalia Security Forces and the African Union force operating in the country.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the announcement in a joint presser with his Somali counterpart Abshir Jama in Moscow.
“We have once again reiterated our readiness to meet the needs of the Somali national army for appropriate equipment to complete the efforts to combat the terrorists and extremists that still persist in that country,” Lavrov said.
The Russian top diplomat also noted that his country has ‘’always been in favour of resolving’ crises in African countries on the basis of their own ‘solutions’ and ‘compromises’.
On his part, Jama said his country a ‘full victory’ against Al-Shabaab in Somalia cannot be realised ‘without the support of the international community. Somalia is currently engaged in a near one-year-long war against Al-Shabaab. President Mohamud announced in April that the operation will soon enter the second phase toward the southern parts of the country.
The visit by Jama to Russia comes at a time Washington and Moscow are bitterly engaged in war of words over the war in Ukraine which Russia started last year by sending troops across the border to Ukraine.
Although Somalia voted in favour of condemnation of the war at the UN, the visit at a time Western countries are seeking the isolation of the Vladimir Putin regime is likely to generate discomfort among key supporters of Somalia such as the UK, US and the European Union.
Between 2010 and 2020, the United States is estimated to have provided more than $500 million in direct security assistance to Somali Forces.
During the 1960s and 70s Somalia oscillated between Washington and Moscow in search of military and economic support as the two powers sought to maintain a geopolitical influence in the Horn of Africa. Amid growing international isolation, Russia has been on a diplomatic charm offensive to win support, especially from the developing South such as Africa.
Russia announced in 2020 it had secured a deal with the military leadership in Sudan to establish a naval base but disputes between the Revolutionary Council appeared to have scuttled the deal. Sudan is now embroiled in a deadly civil war.