MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Somalia on Monday hinted it could release the 9.6
million U.S. dollars seized from a plane chartered by
United Arab Emirates (UAE) diplomats to transport
the cash to Mogadishu, a move that can defuse tension between
the two countries.
The Somali foreign
ministry said it has received a satisfactory response regarding
the money seized on April 8 at Mogadishu airport.
Government of Somalia has sought to clarify facts surrounding
recent developments in order to remove any room for
misunderstanding between the two governments and peoples. This
effort continues,” the ministry said in a statement.
“As part of these
efforts and after lengthy deliberations between the two
governments on the recent incident involving funds that were
intercepted... the UAE has explained the purpose and the
utilization of the said funds and the Federal Government will
work together with the UAE on their utilization,” it added.
The statement came
hours after the UAE disbanded its Somalia training program it
started in 2014 in protest of the incident at Mogadishu airport.
The Gulf nation has
also been paying the salaries of 2,407 Somali soldiers and built
three training centers, a hospital, and dispatched Emirati
medical teams for treating Somalis.
reportedly stopped a plane from the UAE from leaving the country
after Emirati military trainers on board refused to hand over
their luggage to be scanned and searched.
reports, some 47 Emirati Armed Forces personnel who were on the
plane were held at gunpoint and assaulted by Somali security
Mogadishu has since
denied the allegations, saying that it only took the action
after the UAE ambassador, who was at the airport, refused to let
the bags containing the cash be scanned.
The UAE, which has
been supporting the Horn of Africa nation for years as part of
its stabilization efforts, said the money was meant to pay the
salaries of Somalia National Army (SNA) soldiers and trainers.
The UAE has since
condemned the seizure, terming it illegal and a breach of
diplomatic protocol, and accusing the Somali government of
creating “unnecessary tension.”
Somalia and the UAE share a strong economic, political and
cultural bond that dates back several centuries linking the
citizens of both countries through history, economy, culture and
have been committed to strengthening its bilateral relationship
with this traditional and valued partner,” the ministry said.
It noted that the
Horn of Africa nation is making great progress in implementing
critical political and economic reforms to rebuild its
institutions of government and financial systems to deliver
security, services and rule of law to the people of Somalia.
“Somalia hopes the
UAE can be a contributing partner to these efforts as a
counter-terrorism and trade partner,” the statement said.
The ministry said
Somalia welcomes foreign direct investment because prosperity
and economic growth will help unite the nation,” the statement
Ties between Somalia
and the UAE have been strained since mid-2017, when Mogadishu
defied UAE and Saudi Arabia pressure to cut ties with Qatar,
following a diplomatic dispute between the Gulf neighbors.
African Union senior commanders
agree to pacify Somalia amid transition plan
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) senior
commanders have resolved to place emphasis on tasks that will
enable the force to achieve its agenda of complete pacification
of Somalia with transition plan in force.
The AU mission said
in a statement issued on Sunday at the end of the meeting in
Mogadishu that commanders agreed to re-examine and assess the
progress made with the transition plan so far, to enable it to
plan more effectively.
“The AMISOM’s new
mandate, requires it to facilitate a conditions based, gradual
hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali security
forces, without compromising gains already realized,” said
Charles Tai Gituai, the Deputy Force Commander in-charge of
Operations and Planning.
“Our mandate is very
clear, that we are here to eradicate al-Shabab, to help the
Somali people to be able to live in peace; the communities to be
able to start their economic activities and that is our focus,”
During the meeting,
the AU mission’s commanders evaluated the status of the
implementation of the plan, which includes launching operations
to flush out al-Shabab remnants.
They also resolved
to build the capacity of the Somali security forces, to enable
them to take over the security of the country, as stipulated in
the country’s National Security Architecture, agreed to by
political leaders in April 2017.
“There is need to
continually discuss in details how ready AMISOM is, in terms of
manpower and logistics, in executing these tasks (training and
operations), in the sectors, putting into consideration the
operational readiness and the strength of Somali security forces
to support the above tasks,” said AMISOM Force Commander Jim
AMISOM needs to be urgently supported with force multipliers,
like attack and retreat helicopters, to conduct pre-emptive
operations against al-Shabab if the transition plan is to be
realistic, without losing the hard-earned gains.
meeting also discussed the operational capabilities of the
Somali National Army (SNA) and sought confirmation of their
resources, institutional capacity, training of additional
the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU
Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM said the issue
at stake is undertaking operations to disrupt, degrade and
eventually destroy al-Shabab.
“This is the issue.
There is no other issue. There are many things that are required
but the task is to identify al-Shabab, its whereabouts, plan how
to reach the enemy and destroy him,” Madeira added.
He said the
resolutions by the commanders will be incorporated into the AU
Mission’s Concept of Operations (CONOPS), which guides AMISOM’s