Somali diplomat resigns over 'mistreatment' during Hassan Sheikh's Saudi Arabia visit


MOGADISHU, Somalia - A senior diplomat has reigned over alleged mistreatment during President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's visit to Saudi Arabia, in what could trigger sharp confusion in the country's foreign policy.

Salim Maow Haji, Somalia's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, downed tools citing "frustrations" by some members of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's delegation, adding that he was denied entry to the 32nd Arab League summit held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on May 19 which he was to lead the president as the host ambassador.

After the ambassador denied entry, the President's daughter, Jihan Hassan Sheikh was seen sitting next to her father during the one-day high-level Arab League forum in Saudi Arabia.

President Hassan Sheikh was among the leaders who attended the meeting which saw the reinstatement of Syria after a decade of suspension.

Somalia is a member of the Arab League of Nations and Hassan Sheikh seized the opportunity to call for support from member states.

The envoy lists insubordination as one of the major issues resulting from the meeting, arguing that a number of people from the presidential team frustrated him by blocking him from attending critical sessions as the official representative of Somalia. He tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre.

"With due consideration to maintaining my self-respect and dignity, as well as upholding the esteem of government service and diplomatic practices, I have decided to tender my resignation from the position of Ambassador to Saudi Arabia effective today, May 22, 2023."

The Ambassador's message emphasized the traditional role of the host country's Ambassador in such high-level meetings. Maow said that his absence from the discussions was unusual and a clear violation of diplomatic protocol, adding that he was not ready to encounter such embarrassing moments.

Particularly, he points out Hinda Ulosow, who is in charge of the president's protocol for mistreating him throughout Hassan Sheikh's trip. Villa Somalia is yet to respond to a host of allegations he raised in the resignation letter.

"I experienced unacceptable treatment from the Chief of Protocol of the President, Hinda Ulosow, who was disrespectful and insulting towards me. I have reported this issue to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but there has been a disappointing lack of intervention on his part."

Ambassador Salim has recommended that his responsibilities be transferred to Deputy Ambassador Mr Abshir Warsame Diirshe until a suitable replacement is appointed. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is also yet to comment on the latest turn out of events in the country.


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