Somalia turns down $80m to cut ties with Qatar, Eritrea supports Gulf States’ decisions

Somali President, Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo

ESAT News (June 13, 2017)

Somali President, Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo, has been offered $80 million in exchange for his agreement to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, the New Khalij news outlet reported quoting a prominent Somali journalist

“After two hours of enticement, Farmajo rejected the tempting offer,” journalist Jaber Al-Harimi said.

Yesterday, the newspaper Somalia Today quoted unnamed sources saying “there was pressure put on the Somali government by Saudi Arabia to reverse Somalia’s decision to stay neutral in the siege imposed by some Arab governments on the State of Qatar.”

Qatari delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sultan Bin Saad Al-Muraikhi was in the Somali capital yesterday for talks with officials of the Somali Federal government, according to a report by the Middle East Monitor. Al-Muraikhi was also in Addis Ababa on Monday and held talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, although details of the talks were not available to media.

Somalia allowed Qatar the use of its airspace to break the no fly restriction imposed by the Arab countries. “At least 15 Qatari planes flew through Somali Airspace on the first day of the blockade on Qatar,” the Associated Press quoted an official with the aviation authority as saying.

Eritrea meanwhile voiced its support to the decision by the Gulf States. “For the GOE, this is a timely issue that warrants its [Eritrea’s] active support,” a statement by Eritrea’s Ministry of information said on Monday.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar following a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, who accused in a tweet that Qatar supports terrorist organizations.