Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has met with Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz on Wednesday during his two-day official visit to the Kingdom amid tensions over Somalia’s neutral position in the Gulf crisis.
Farmajo said the talks with King Salman was fruitful and the two countries made progress on strengthening bilateral ties.
The Somali president, accompanied by government officials, also held meetings with the Saudi crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman in Jeddah and they discussed issues including economic partnership among others.
The visit follows Somalia’s reiteration of its neutral stands last week in the Gulf crisis that saw Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, cut diplomatic relations with Qatar in June.
They accused Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the claims.
Some African countries took sides in the diplomatic row with Chad recalling its ambassador from Qatar ‘for consultations’ after Senegal recalled its envoy citing its ‘active solidarity’ with Saudi Arabia.
Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, severed ties with Qatar following the lead of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt ? while Gabon condemned Doha.
However, Guinean President Alpha Conde offered to mediate in the diplomatic crisis in his capacity as chairperson of the African Union to find a swift and peaceful solution.
Somalia’s neutrality was met by opposition from three states including Puntland, Hirshabelle and recently Galmudug who have taken the Saudi-led side and called on the government to change its position due to its good relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Meanwhile, Somali states of Jubaland, Puntland, Hirshabelle, and South West have jointly condemned the impeachment of the president of the Galmudug State Ahmed Haaf who lost his position after a parliamentary vote on Tuesday amid a political crisis.
The four states said in a statement that the quick acceptance of the impeachment by the federal government is due to Haaf’s backing of the Saudi-led faction of the Gulf crisis against Qatar, local media Radio Dalsan reported.
“The misunderstanding between the Federal Government and the states over the Gulf issue has led to a targeted campaign by the Federal Government against Galmudug to remove the state president. The statement from the government is evidence of this move,” it said.
They called on the Federal Government to nullify the impeachment and re-instate Haaf.
The impeachment follows Ahmed Haaf’s statement on behalf of the state last week Tuesday supporting the Saudi-led faction and calling on the federal government to change its neutral position due to its good relations with the two Gulf states.
Ahmed Haaf was voted out a day after returning from a visit to the United Arab Emirates.
“If the political crisis facing the country continues, coordination between the Federal Government and Federal Member States will deteriorate and this will significantly affect the war on terror,” the states of Jubaland, Puntland, Hirshabelle, and South West said.
Puntland and Hirshabelle had also supported the Saudi Arabia-UAE faction in the Gulf crisis since August.