Inside Hassan Sheikh's visit to Saudi Arabia


MOGADISHU, Somalia - Details have emerged on President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, just as Somalia battles violent extremism, territorial integrity threats, and internal political divisions that threaten the country’s future.

Hassan Sheikh's visit to Saudi Arabia has been linked to a mediation process between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi, which was triggered by the recent defense agreement between Somalia and Turkey, partly dislodging Abu Dhabi from the equation.

Somalia penned a maritime defence deal with Turkey which among others, would see Turkey protect Somalia’s 3,333 kilometers coastline amid threats from Ethiopia which is hell-bent on annexing part of the Horn of Africa nation's territory along the Red Sea.

Before Turkey's deal with Somalia, the country had entered similar arrangements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) thus leading to the country standoff. Multiple sources say the UAE is displeased with Somalia’s actions and has since questioned Mogadishu's loyalty.

The UAE has reportedly reduced support for Somali forces after an attack on Emirati officers which also happened recently in Mogadishu after the al-Shabaab militants raided a training camp leaving four Emirati officers dead and one from Bahrain.

According to sources, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud trusts that the impasse between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi can be solved by Saudi Arabia as an arbitrator, thus informing Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's recent trip. Villa Somalia is yet to state the visit.

Somalia has been acting out of desperation after the breakaway region of Somaliland signed an agreement with Ethiopia which if implemented, would see Ethiopia getting 20 kilometers of the Red Sea for construction of a Naval base and port.

In return, the agreement would see Ethiopia recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state. The government of Somalia has since moved with speed to ask for support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey who have agreed to cooperate.


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