UAE accepts Somali apology for 2018 Mogadishu airport incident

Published: February 2, 2022

Presidential adviser Dr Anwar Gargash says the two nations will open a new chapter in relations.

The UAE government has accepted an apology from Somalia over an incident in 2018 in which millions of dollars in financial aid sent by the Emirates were seized.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation said Prime Minister Mohamed Roble’s statement “reflects the depth of the historical relations between the two brotherly countries”.

In April 2018, Somali security forces detained a Royal Jet aircraft and Emirati personnel who had in their possession financial aid for the Somali military.

The jet and the officials were allowed to depart but $9.6 million was seized. The UAE funds were supposed to pay Somali troops and support an Emirati training programme to improve stability after years of turmoil.

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa, said on Wednesday that the two countries will press forward with a new chapter in relations.

“The UAE continues its steps towards restoring bridges and resuming communication with different countries in its quest to enhance regional stability and advance the wheel of prosperity,” he said on Twitter.

“The Somali prime minister’s apology opens a new page. Support for our brothers in Somalia is the UAE’s historical position and has been embodied during the most difficult circumstances, and will remain the focus of the UAE’s attention and care.”

The Emirates continued to fly aid to Somalia following flash floods in 2020 and to help hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

Mr Roble visited Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and met with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Sheikh Mohamed expressed gratitude to Somalia’s government for condemning the terror attacks carried out by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on January 17, which killed three oil company workers.

Subsequent rocket attacks on January 24 and January 31 were foiled.

The meeting was also attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed, Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed, a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan, Minister of State.

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