Somali PM flies to Saudi Arabia amid strain in ties
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A high-level delegation led by the Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan Ali Khaire has left Mogadishu for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as the two nations try to mend their frayed ties, Garowe Online reports.
"Today I left the country for Saudi Arabia on an official visit at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and I will meet with officials there for bilateral talks to enhance relations between the two brotherly countries," Khaire tweeted.
The visit follows Somalia’s reiteration of its neutral stands last year in the ongoing Gulf crisis that saw Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates [UAE], cut diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5.
Riyadh expressed dismay over Mogadishu neutrality and subsequently halted financial assistance to Somali government which was accused of siding with Qatar by some leaders of the Somali Federal states.
Doha maintains close links with senior influential officials in Somalia, including the deputy Intelligence Agency chief Fahad Yasin, who prior to this post served as the Chief of Staff at Villa Somalia.
Since he came to power in February 2017, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo paid several trips to Saudi Arabia and met with Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz but made no tangible progress on normalization of the soaring relations.