MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – Somalia has supported Saudi Arabia’s move to freeze its trade ties with Canada, Somali Foreign Ministry said Wednesday
Saudi Arabia this week said it considered Canada’s call last week for the release of detained civil society and women’s rights activists a violation of Saudi sovereignty.
In a statement, the ministry declared the country’s solidarity with Saudi in its decision to expel the Canadian ambassador over Ottawa’s urge to free arrested Saudi civil society activists.
“Somali government makes clear that it supports its brotherly Saudi’s decision against Foreign interference in its internal affairs,” the statement reads in part.
Riyadh on last Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave.
The Saudi government also banned new trade with Canada, although it was unclear if it would affect existing annual Saudi-Canadian trade of nearly $4 billion and a $13 billion defense contract.
Interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs, against basic international norms and all international protocols.
In response to Saudi Arabia’s actions, Canada Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights.”
Somalia’s moves to cut ties with Saudi foes
Somalia called on both Saudi and Canada to resolve their difference in a diplomatic way.
This is not the first time Somali government decided to sideline with Saudi Arabia against another country.
The Saudis are leveraging financial aid to pressure Somalia to cut ties with their opponents.
Late 2016 Saudi Arabia had looked to counter Iranian influence in Somalia and opted to block Tehran’s movement and presence in Somalia
Saudi Arabia pledged $50 million in aid to Somalia in Jan 2017-the same day the Somali government announced it was cutting ties with Iran.
But diplomats said it was sign of patronage used by the kingdom to shore up regional support against Iran, a rivalry that deepened this month when Sunni majority Saudi Arabia executed a Shi’ite cleric and Iranian protesters responded by torching the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
“The Saudis currently manage to rally countries behind them both on financial grounds and the argument of non-interference,” a diplomat told Reuters, referring to what Sunni-majority countries see as Iran’s habit of cultivating ties to their Shi’ite minorities.
In 2014, the Horn of African nation stood with Saudi Arabia after Arabian Peninsula nation paused its ties with the Netherlands over stickers printed by far-right politician Geert Wilders which display anti-Islam slogans in the colors of the Saudi flag.
Saudi Arabia offered $80 million to Somalia in June last year in an attempt to persuade the East African country to dissolve diplomatic relations with Qatar and reportedly warned Farmajo that it may withdraw all financial aid if Somalia maintains neutrality in the conflict.
Though Somalia maintained its neutrality yet the government had tried its best not to soar its ties with Saudi.