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Somalia will ‘likely’ stand by S. Arabia in severing ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia’s leverage, both politically and financially for Somalia, is significant, with Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has paid his first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia two weeks after he was elected on February 8

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Somalia will likely join the growing number of countries, led by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar amid escalating tensions in Middle East, officials and analysts say on Monday.

Last year, the horn of African nation joined a growing number of countries, led by Saudi Arabia, to cut off diplomatic relations with Iran amid escalating diplomatic row.

Saudi Arabia’s leverage, both politically and financially for Somalia, is significant, with Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has paid his first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia two weeks after he was elected on February 8.

A growing number of Arab nations have cut ties with Qatar, in what they pointed to Doha’s alleged terrorism ties and their own national security.

With other Saudi allies are expected to follow suit, Saudi Arabia, using its patronage and economic leverage has reportedly urged Somali government to follow suit, a proposal that Somalia will likely endorse without more ado, a Somali official told Alleastafrica in Nairobi.

“I don’t think Saudi’s proposal will get a disappointing response, given that Somalia received a pledge of aid for $50 million from Saudi Arabia before when it had to cut ties with Iran.” said Jacob Moses, a Nairobi-based Somalia expert.

According to Somali officials, Somali president is expected to send a ministerial-level delegation to Saudi Arabia to meet with Saudi officials for further talks.

Somalia maintains close relations with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, further challenging the impoverished nation which is mulling to stand by Saudi Arabia. However, this will be the new president’s first test in foreign policy.

Mr. Mohamed has paid his last foreign trip to Doha, the capital of capital.

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