QATAR (OBSERVATORY) – According to the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq , the Somali government has decided to put an end to plans to train several hundred of its soldiers by Emirati advisers, indicating that the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Qatar has affected the Horn of Africa region.
The government will, however, pay the salary and bonus for the training of soldiers on the program, Somali Defense Minister Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman said Saturday.
Analysts believe that the deterioration of relations between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates is due to Mogadishu’s refusal to take sides in the crisis between Qatar and four other Arab League countries, namely the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have trade links with Somalia and have a strong influence on Somalia, but this is counterbalanced by the fact that Qatar and its ally, Turkey, have significant investments in this African country.
Somali security forces recently seized $ 9.6 million in cash from an Emirati plane at Mogadishu airport on Sunday.
Abu Dhabi claims the money was meant to fund Somali military training, but Somali analysts believe the United Arab Emirates wants to use it to cause more problems in the country.
Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said on Tuesday that his country is trying to solve the problem with the Somali government, but the statement by the Somali defense minister casts doubt on the possibility of appeasement.
A Foreign Ministry official told the Reuters news agency that the contract signed with the United Arab Emirates for the training of Somali security forces expired in 2016, without explaining why and under what conditions the project had been maintained.