Prime Minister wrong to rush to the UAE -UM

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire handshaking with Suhail Mohammed Almazrouei UAE's Minister for Energy and Industry upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi airport. Photo: PM's Twitter.

Mogadishu (UM) – The Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has left for the UAE with a group of his Cabinet Ministers for a reason unknown to the Somali people.  The Prime Minister left on a private jet from Mogadishu and will most likely be meeting with the leadership of the UAE during his visit.

The Prime Minister is not wrong to visit any country to advance diplomatic relations for the benefit of the Somali people, but he is wrong to re-engage a nation that has systematically attempted to weaken his government and return Somalia to a state of division and lawlessness. It is a fact that the UAE has supported and continues to assist spoilers of Somali progress. It is also a disturbing truth that the UAE has worked with federal member states to sow the divisions that hold the nation back, especially, during the Gulf crisis. If convening meetings for federal member states leaders in the UAE to undermine their federal government was not enough, the UAE has added insult to injury by investing in regional ports through the partially State-owned DP World without the knowledge and permission of the federal government to divide Somalia and its people. This is sabotage of the Somali national interest, a form of political and economic terrorism that could easily backfire in a poorly governed place like the UAE.

Somalis are proud that their government stood up to the UAE bullies by remaining neutral in the Gulf crisis. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo did the honorable thing and kept the nation out of a destructive dispute which translated into greater international respect and engagement for Somalia. While both Saudi Arabia and Qatar respected Somalia’s decision, the UAE continued to bully and harass a new government to their detriment. Now, in amidst all the political and diplomatic violations of the UAE, Prime Minister Khaire rushes on the plane as if nothing has happened to meet those who have attempted to humiliate and weaken Somalia and its proud peole. This is a grave mistake that hurts the pride and honour of the Somali people. It also lowers the diplomatic standing of Somalia in the eyes of the community of nations.

It is not yet known which side requested the meeting but, in any case, the Somali government should have not rushed to engage in discussions at this high level with the UAE. If the UAE is ready to engage with Somalia and apologize for its attempted violations of Somali sovereignty, this should have occurred at the Ministerial level. At this level, Somali-UAE relations going forward should have been defined. Then, if agreed and the UAE apologized for not respecting Somalia’s territorial integrity, the Prime Minister could have departed on this visit. Now, without any commitment of this nature or a clear agenda, the Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet have left to waste vital time needed for reforms at home on the leaders of the UAE who do not have an ounce of respect for them or the country they represent.

The UAE’s diplomatic style is simplistic and centers on buying off critics and paying for influence. The Somali Prime Minister must know that all the false personal praise and promises of financial support in the world, even in this tough time, is worthless if Somalia has no respect in the eyes of its people and the rest of the world. Somalia’s honor and dignity cannot be bought in the desert.

Mr. Prime Minister, do not dishonor Somalia by returning with anything but an apology from the UAE. Then, and only then, can the Somali people move forward to further discussions with the UAE and at the right diplomatic level which is way below your office.