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Somalia asserts neutral stand in Gulf feud, cites past record

Storyline:National News

Somalia argues it stood its position during the 10 year fall out following the Camp David Accord and pursues a similar position in the current crisis among Gulf countries.

President Mohamed Farmaajo addressing the media during a joint conference with UN chief in March. Somalia has maintained its neutral position in the ongoing Gulf Crisis. Photo: Villa Somalia

Somalia has stood its ground on neutrality in the ongoing Gulf Crisis asserting its position is informed by its history of non- alignment in conflict even as regional administrations move in the opposite direction declaring their support for Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The Federal Government released a statement Thursday affirming the country’s June 6 position a day after Galmudug, one of the states in the country joined three other in siding with the Saudis citing failure by President Mohamed Farmaajo to announce his stand following a July meeting which South West and Galmudug states note the President requested for more time to respond on the matter.

“Somalia’s role has always been not to side with any faction but to work in the unity of Arab, African and Islamic countries. Somalia’s position on Camp David Agreement in the late 70s was neutral; Somalia refused to cut ties with Egypt at that time. After Arab countries solved their disagreements, our stance on the matter was praised and appreciated,” a statement from the Ministry of Information read in part.

“Likewise, the decision of the cabinet on the Gulf Crisis has reinforced our position and it has been greatly welcomed and appreciated by both Somali people and international community as well,” the government added following a cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords September 17, 1978 ending the state of war between the two countries dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The signing of the agreement by Egypt’s Anwar El Sadat and Israeli PM Menachem Begin drew sharp reaction from the Arab League leading to the transfer of the League’s headquarters from Cairo to Tunis, Tunisia but was later reverted following resumption of ties in 1989.

The Federal Government noted it is strongly of the view that the Gulf feud which is now crossing into the fourth month can only be resolved peacefully through requisite diplomatic channels. It also asserted its sole authority and responsibility over foreign affairs in addition to monetary policy, citizenship and immigration and defense as contemplated by article 54 of the Provisional Constitution.

The Government’s response follows the decision by Galmudug, Puntland, South West states and Somaliland to declare their support for Saudi Arabia. Somaliland which is seeking independence from Somalia announced from the onset of the crisis its support for Saudi Arabia. Puntland followed in August citing security and economic challenges.

South West and Galmudug argued Somalia and Saudi Arabia and UAE enjoyed historical, cultural and religious ties but also noted the President had dragged his feet following a promise to respond after the July meeting.

“Because of the time elapsed since, and the Federal Government’s uncompromising position on this matter, South West State of Somalia have no choice but to stand with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, for their noble pursuit to fight extremism in any form, and their firm stance on the relations to this issue,” South West said.

Jubbaland and HirShabelle states are yet to declare their positions on the matter.