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Somalia’s Puntland breaks ranks with Federal Govt, backs Saudi Arabia as Gulf Crisis bites

Storyline:National News
Puntland President Abdiweli Gaas announced his state’s exit Wednesday from the Federal Government’s neutral position. File Photo: courtesy

The semi autonomous region of Puntland has declared its breaking ranks with the Federal Government over its neutral stand regarding the ongoing Gulf Crisis noting the feud which is now running into the fourth month is posing security and economic challenges to the region.

A statement from the Puntland presidency Wednesday noted the region was throwing its weight behind the Saudi led faction opting out of the neutral position which President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo announced in June.

“We acknowledge the fact that the Middle East issue will not be resolved anytime soon and the continuing crisis will have security as well as developmental implications throughout Somalia,” the statement read in part.

Noting that Puntland had maintained strategic partnership with United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Puntland said “We believe our position is to clearly stand with our partners, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

The decision by Puntland could be seen from the economic relations which it maintains with UAE and its not clear if the pressure could have emanated from the Emiratis. Dubai’s P&O Ports secured a 30 year concession April to operate the port of Bosaso in Puntland billed at $336 million. The ports developer would inject $ 136 Million in the first phase and a further $ 200 in the second phase.

In the statement, Puntland called on the Federal Government to reconsider its position noting the Gulf Crisis ‘will have lasting and negative consequences for the people of Somalia.”

A similar letter from the immediate former President of HirShabelle Abdullahi Ali Osoble who was kicked out by the state parliament Sunday emerged last evening. The letter signed by Osoble dated August 16, 2017 stated Somalia must stand with the Saudis. “We urge the Federal Government of Somalia to reconsider its position about the crisis in the Gulf and to stand by the true friends and sisters of Somalia: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.”

The break-away region of Somaliland declared earlier its support for Saudi Arabia.

Article 54 of the Provisional Constitution vests sole responsibility on Federal Government over Foreign Affairs besides National Defense, Citizenship and Immigration and Monetary Policy.