Somalia has announced it is cutting off military ties with UAE in what could be a major diplomatic move by the Horn of Africa country amid a fast deteriorating diplomatic relationship with the Gulf country following the latest round of differences between the two countries.
With UAE declared a threat to the country’s sovereignty following the Berbera Port fiasco, Mogadishu has today unveiled another move against UAE by revealing it would be ending military training by the Gulf nation in Somalia.
“Somali government has the responsibility over soldiers trained by the UAE,” Defense minister Mohamed Abdirahman told journalists. “We have already put plans in place and registered all the soldiers who will now be distributed into the various formation of the army.”
Mursal added the official handover from UAE to Somalia of the military training will take place Thursday in a ceremony to mark 58 years since the founding of the Somali National Army.
“As government, our duty is to pay the salary of our soldiers and meet all their needs so we would thank Emirati government for training our soldiers and the support they provide us.”
The minister’s remarks come a day after UAE condemned Somalia over the seizure of $9.6 million from UAE at Aden Adde Airport in Mogadishu last Sunday.
The diplomatic tiff comes barely a month after the controversial DP World contract in the break-away region of Somaliland which Somalia declared unconstitutional and went ahead to seek the intervention of the Arab League and UN Security Council.
The Emirati government which has seen its relations with Somalia hit rock bottom in the last few months said in a statement Tuesday the money was meant for Somali army.
“Money allocated to support the Somali army and trainees was seized at gunpoint by Somali security personnel, who disrespected some members of the UAE forces,” the statement read in part.
The move by Mogadishu to cut military relations with UAE is a major step in the ongoing disputes between the two countries and could herald a long drawn process given UAE’s entrenched involvement in military training in Somalia.
Besides the Mogadishu military academy, the UAE also trains and equips Puntland military in addition to the newly announced pact with Somaliland to provide military training to its troops. UAE also has military collaborations with other regional states in the country.
The Emirati government opened a military training centre in Mogadishu May 2015 fortifying diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Gulf country also went ahead to build a hospital in Mogadishu among other development projects.