The Gulf crisis has started to affect Africa after Saudi Arabia called on African nations to join the boycott against Qatar. However, Somalia has rejected the offer and has backed Qatar.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered the government in Mogadishu an additional 68mn euros to join the boycott, but the Somali president was not interested in the offer and rejected it. Somalia has always maintained good relationship with Qatar and looks to continue it.
Somalia’s President has asked all the involved parties to enter into a dialogue and resolve the crisis. Somalia has allowed Qatari flights to pass through Somali airspace which has weakened the plans of Saudi led bloc to isolate Qatar.
Tensions also remain high because the UAE is exerting more influence in the regions of Somaliland and Puntland. Both regions have declared their independence. However, the government in Mogadishu still considers them part of Somalia. The UAE is building ports there and wants to establish a military base.
Meanwhile, the situation in the Horn of Africa has got worse after an old border conflict broke out. For seven years, the contested border between Eritrea and Djibouti was secured by peacekeepers from Qatar.
However, when the Gulf crisis started the troops from Eritrean border were withdrawn by Qatar, thereby ending the role of mediator between the two countries. Eritrea immediately occupied the unmanned border zone northeast of Djibouti. “Eritrea doesn’t want to back down. That could lead to even greater tension between the three countries,” warns Somali political expert Muhyadin Ahmed Roble.
About a week ago, Senegal decided to send its ambassador back to Doha, after being previously summoned for consultation.
Comoros severed diplomatic relations with Doha in the wake of the current GCC crisis but the Comorian president’s decision was termed as “unjustified” by Fahmi Said Ibrahim, a former minister, who was sacked for his support for Qatar.