Saudi Arabia sends envoy back to Somalia to reshape ties

This promises to be a unique event, as Saudi Arabia officially reopened its embassy in the capital Mogadishu, since the collapse of the military regime led by Gen. Said Barre in 1991.

News Keydmedia Online
Saudi Arabia sends envoy back to Somalia to reshape ties

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has dispatched a new ambassador back to Somalia to help redefine relations that strained after the Gulf crisis started in June 2017.

Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al-Muwallad on Wednesday has handed over his credentials to the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo at the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

This promises to be a unique event, as Saudi Arabia officially reopened its embassy in the capital Mogadishu, since the collapse of the military regime led by Gen. Said Barre in 1991.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud appointed Al-Muwallad in October 2021 as Riyadh eyes improved diplomatic ties with Somalia, joining the rival Gulf States in the country.

When the Gulf rift began, Somalia faced pressure to choose from among rival Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates on one side, and Qatar which has an upper hand in Mogadishu.

The political and security rivalries in the Persian Gulf have spilled over into the Horn of Africa country which has been struggling to recover from three decades of bloody conflict.

After months of maintaining a neutral stance of the GCC row, Farmajo sided with Doha in 2018 in reward for its generous funding to his election in 2017 as Somali president.

Qatar’s influence in Somalia grew much stronger for the past five years, thanks to Farmajo and its man – Fahad Yasin who previously served as Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Mogadishu.

In late 2017, Saudi Arabia halted $50 million in new aid to Somalia in what appeared a move that resulted from Farmajo's decision to support Qatar against its competing Gulf nations.

In early 2018, the United Arab Emirates disbanded its military training mission to units of the Somali army after NISA seized $9.6 million on a plane from Abu Dhabi at Mogadishu airport.

KEYDMEDIA English

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.