Foreign relations of Somalia
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
- 1 Horn of Africa
- 2 Europe
- 3 Asia
- 4 Arab world
- 5 Other regions
- 6 International organization membership
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
Horn of Africa
As the headquarters of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional body, Djibouti has been an active participant in the Somalian peace process. It hosted the Arta conference in 2000, as well as the 2008-2009 talks between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia, which led to the formation of a coalition government. In 2011, Djibouti joined the African Union Mission to Somalia. Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in 2012, a Djibouti delegation also attended the inauguration ceremony of Somalia's new president.
Relations between the peoples of Somalia and Ethiopia stretch back to antiquity, to a common origin. The Ethiopian region is one of the proposed homelands of the Horn of Africa's various Afro-Asiatic communities.
During the Middle Ages, Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (Ahmad Gurey or Gragn) led a Conquest of Abyssinia (Futuh al-Habash), which brought three-quarters of the Christian Ethiopian Empire under the power of the Muslim Adal Sultanate. With an army mainly composed of Somalis, Many historians trace the origins of tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia to this war.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a territorial dispute over the Ogaden region led to various armed confrontations between the Somalian and Ethiopian militaries. The tensions culminated in the Ogaden War, which saw the Somali army capture most of the disputed territory by September 1977, before finally being expelled by a coalition of communist forces.
With changes in leadership in the early 1990s brought on by the start of the Somali Civil War and Ethiopian Civil War, respectively, relations between the Somali and Ethiopian authorities entered a new phase of military cooperation against the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) rebel group and its more radical successor Al-Shabaab. In October 2011, a coordinated multinational operation began against Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia; the Ethiopian military eventually joined the Transitional Federal Government-led mission the following month.
The Federal Government of Somalia was later established on August 20, 2012, representing the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. The following month, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as the new Somali government's first President, with the Ethiopian authorities welcoming his selection and newly appointed Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn attending Mohamud's inauguration ceremony.
In terms of administration, Italy first gained a foothold in Somalia through the signing of various pacts and agreements in the late 19th century with the ruling Somali Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo, led by King Osman Mahamuud and Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, respectively. In 1936, the acquired territory, dubbed Italian Somaliland, was integrated into Africa Orientale Italiana as part of the Italian Empire. This would last until 1941, during World War II. Italian Somaliland then came under British administration until 1949, when it became a United Nations trusteeship, the Trust Territory of Somalia, under Italian administration. On July 1, 1960, the Trust Territory of Somalia united as scheduled with the briefly extant State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.
Although most Italian Somalis left the territory after independence, Somalia's relations with Italy remained strong in the following years and through the ensuing civil war period. The Federal Government of Somalia was later established on August 20, 2012. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi welcomed the new administration, and re-affirmed Italy's continued support for the Somali authorities.
Somalia–Turkey relations date back to the Middle Ages and the ties between the Adal Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire. Prior to the breakout of the civil war in Somalia in 1991, Turkey maintained an embassy in Mogadishu. It later discontinued operations due to security reasons. In 2011, the Turkish government announced that it would reopen its embassy in Somalia. The Somali federal government also maintains an embassy in Ankara, Turkey's capital.
During the drought of 2011, Turkey contributed over $201 million to the humanitarian relief efforts in the impacted parts of Somalia. Following a greatly improved security situation in Mogadishu in mid-2011, the Turkish government also re-opened its foreign embassy with the intention of more effectively assisting in the post-conflict development process. It was among the first foreign administrations to resume formal diplomatic relations with Somalia after the civil war.
Additionally, Turkish Airlines became the first long-distance international commercial airline in two decades to land at Mogadishu's Aden Adde International Airport. As of March 2012, the flag carrier offers two flights a week from the Somali capital to Istanbul.
In partnership with the Somali government, Turkish officials have also launched various development and infrastructure projects in Somalia. They have assisted in the building of several hospitals, and helped renovate and rehabilitate the Aden Adde International Airport and the National Assembly building, among other initiatives.
Somalia–United Kingdom relations date back to the 19th century. In 1884, Britain established the British Somaliland protectorate in present-day northern Somalia after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans, such as Mohamoud Ali Shire of the Warsangali Sultanate. In 1900, the Somali religious leader Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan ("Mad Mullah")'s Dervish forces began a twenty-year resistance movement against British troops. This military campaign eventually came to an end in 1920, after Britain aerially bombarded the Dervish capital of Taleh.
British Somaliland became independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, and the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) followed suit five days later. On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic.
After the collapse of the Somali central government and the start of the civil war in 1991, the UK embassy in Mogadishu closed down. However, the British government never formally severed diplomatic ties with Somalia. Britain acknowledged and supported the internationally-recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as the country's national governing body. It also engaged Somalia's smaller regional administrations, such as Puntland and Somaliland, to ensure broad-based inclusion in the peace process. In 2012, the British authorities additionally organized the London Conference on Somalia to coordinate the international community's support for the interim Somali government.
Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in mid-2012, British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the new administration and re-affirmed Britain's continued support for the Somali authorities. On 25 April 2013, the UK also became the first Western country to re-open its embassy in Somalia, with British First Secretary of State William Hague attending the opening ceremony. On 6 June 2013, the British government appointed Neil Wigan as the new British Ambassador to Somalia. He succeeded Matt Baugh.
Prior to 1991 and the start of the civil war, the Somali authorities maintained bilateral relations with the government of Japan. The Japanese administration subsequently pledged development funds through various international organizations. With the formation of the Federal Government of Somalia in 2012, the Japanese government re-established formal diplomatic ties with the Somali authorities. In 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also announced that Japan would resume direct assistance to Somalia, particularly in the areas of security, industrial development, and bilateral trade and investment.
People's Republic of China
Relations between the territories of present-day Somalia and China date back to antiquity, when communities in both regions engaged in commercial exchanges.
During the Cold War period, the Somali government maintained active relations with its Chinese counterpart. The Somali authorities campaigned for an end to China's diplomatic isolation and supported instead its entry into the United Nations.
In January 1991, the Chinese embassy in Mogadishu closed down operations due to the start of the civil war in Somalia. Despite the departure of most Chinese officials, the two countries maintained a small trading relationship in the ensuing years. Total trade volume in 2002 was US$3.39 million, with Somalia exporting US$1.56 million of goods to China and importing $1.83 million.
From 2000 to 2011, approximately seven Chinese development projects were launched in Somalia. These initiatives included $6 million in economic assistance, donation of anti-malaria drugs, and $3 million in debt relief.
In July 2007, the Chinese state-owned oil company CNOOC also signed an oil exploration agreement with the Somali government over the north-central Mudug province, situated in the autonomous Puntland region.
Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in mid-2012, the Chinese authorities reaffirmed their support for the Somali government and called on the international community to strengthen its commitment to the Somali peace process. China's Permanent Representative to the UN, Li Baodong, also emphasized his administration's support for the Somali federal government's stabilization plan, including the latter's efforts at "implementing an interim Constitution, carrying out its six-point plan, strengthening institutional capacity, exercising government functions and extending effective authority over all its national territory."
In August 2013, follow a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Somalia's Foreign Minister Fowziya Yusuf Haji Adan announced that the Somali authorities looked forward to cooperation with the Chinese government in the energy, infrastructure, national security and agriculture sectors, among others. Wang also praised the traditional friendship between both nations and re-affirmed China's commitment to the Somali peace process. In September 2013, both governments signed an official cooperation agreement in Mogadishu as part of a five-year national recovery plan in Somalia. The pact will see the Chinese authorities reconstruct several major infrastructural landmarks in the Somalian capital and elsewhere, including the National Theatre, a hospital, and the Mogadishu Stadium, as well as the road between Galkayo and Burao in northern Somalia. Additionally, Chinese ambassador Liu Guangyoun indicated that China would re-open its embassy in Mogadishu on land that had been donated for the purpose by the Somali government.
South Korea officially recognizes and maintains diplomatic ties with the Federal Government of Somalia. In May 2013, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accepted the credentials of the new South Korean Ambassador to Mogadishu, Kim Chan-Woo, the first diplomatic representative of an Asian Pacific country to work in Somalia in many years. Chan-Woo also announced that South Korea would re-open its embassy in the Somali capital. Additionally, the Ambassador indicated that his administration would support the Somali government's ongoing reconstruction efforts, in the process making use of South Korea's own experience in post-conflict rehabilitation and development gained from the Korean War. He also asserted that his administration would once again launch agricultural and technical projects in Somalia, as the South Korean authorities had done in the past.
Although relations between the modern-day territories of Somalia and Yemen stretch back to antiquity, the two countries formally established diplomatic ties on December 18, 1960. Both nations are also members of the Arab League.
Following the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia in the 1990s, the Yemeni authorities maintained relations with Somalia's newly established Transitional National Government and its successor the Transitional Federal Government. The subsequent establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in August 2012 was also welcomed by the Yemeni authorities, who re-affirmed Yemen's continued support for Somalia's government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
United Arab Emirates
During the 2011 drought, the UAE authorities assisted the Somali government's humanitarian relief efforts and attempts at stabilizing the situation. The UAE also supports the counter-piracy activities of the Somali authorities.
In 2013, Foreign Minister of Somalia Fowziya Yusuf Haji Adan and her Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation. The agreement re-establishes formal diplomatic ties between Somalia and the UAE, and also focuses on the political, security, economic, investment and development sectors. Additionally, the Emirati government announced that it would re-open its embassy in Mogadishu.
Relations between Kenya and Somalia have historically been tense. Agitations over self-determination in the Somali-inhabited Northern Frontier District culminated in the Shifta War during the 1960s. Although the conflict ended in a cease-fire, Somalis in the region still identify and maintain close ties with their kin in Somalia.
In October 2011, a coordinated operation between the Somali military and the Kenyan military began against the Al-Shabaab group of insurgents in southern Somalia. The mission was officially led by the Somali army, with the Kenyan forces providing a support role. In early June 2012, Kenyan troops were formally integrated into AMISOM.
Relations between the modern-day territories of Somalia and Pakistan stretch back to antiquity. In 1969, Somalia and Pakistan were among the founding members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Somalia's relations with Pakistan remained strong in the following years and through the ensuing civil period, when Pakistan contributed to the UN peacekeeping operation in southern Somalia.
Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in 2012, the Pakistani authorities welcomed the new administration, and re-affirmed Pakistan's continued support for Somalia's government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty. Additionally, Somalia maintains an embassy in Islamabad.
After the collapse of the Barre government and the start of the civil war in the early 1990s, the U.S. embassy in Mogadishu closed down. However, the American government never formally severed diplomatic ties with Somalia. The U.S. acknowledged and supported the internationally-recognized, UN-backed Transitional Federal Government as the country's national governing body. It also engages Somalia's smaller regional administrations, such as Puntland and Somaliland, to ensure broad-based inclusion in the peace process.
As of 2011, the United States maintains a non-resident diplomatic mission for Somalia in Nairobi. In addition, the Somalia embassy in the U.S. until recently had as its ambassador-designate Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the former Prime Minister of Somalia.
The Federal Government of Somalia was established on August 20, 2012, concurrent with the end of the TFG's interim mandate. It represents the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. On September 10, 2012, the new Federal Parliament also elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the incumbent President of Somalia. The United States government subsequently released a press statement felicitating Mohamud on his victory, and promised to continue partnering with the Somali authorities.
In January 2013, the U.S. announced that it was set to exchange diplomatic notes with the new central government of Somalia, re-establishing official ties with the country for the first time in 20 years. According to the Department of State, the decision was made in recognition of the significant progress that the Somali authorities had achieved on both the political and war fronts. The move is expected to grant the Somali government access to new sources of development funds from American agencies as well as international bodies like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, thereby facilitating the ongoing reconstruction process.
International organization membership
Other memberships include:
ACP AfDB AFESD AL AMF CAEU ECA FAO G-77 IBRD ICAO ICRM IDA IDB IFAD IFC IFRCS IGAD ILO IMF IMO Intelsat Interpol IOC IOM (observer) ITU NAM OAU OIC UN UNCTAD UNESCO UNHCR UNIDO UPU WFTU WHO WIPO WMO WTrO (observer)
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