By: Zakeriye Ahmed,, Horndiplomat correspondent
Somalia and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations after cutting ties over four decades ago.
“Having established diplomatic relations between 1972-1977, we welcome the resumption of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba governed by cooperation and mutual respect,” says Somalia’s Foreign Affairs minister Abshir Omar via Twitter.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has today received the credentials letters of Cuba’s non-resident ambassador to Somalia, Juan Manuel Rodríguez Vázquez, at the country’s presidential palace.
President Hassan also received the letters of credence of Djibouti’s new Ambassador Mohamed Ibrahim Youssef and Canada’s Christopher Thornley today.
Somalia and Cuba established diplomatic relations in 1972, but the ties were severed in 1977 after Cuba backed Ethiopia in the Somalia-Ethiopia war in the Ogaden region and sent thousands of Cuban troops and advisers to Ethiopia.
Somalia’s former deputy defense minister, General Mohamed Nur Galal, told VOA that Cuba had members of its Civil Defense System in Somalia and ordered them to go to Ethiopia. Castro also sent thousands of troops to Ethiopia
“I read a book Castro wrote, saying he brought Somalia to its knees. … He was a bad man who hated Somalis,” Galal said.