Somalia–United Arab Emirates relations

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Somalia–United Arab Emirates relations
Map indicating locations of Somalia and United Arab Emirates


United Arab Emirates

Somalia–United Arab Emirates relations are bilateral relations between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Both nations are Arab League members and engage in close development cooperation. Somalia also has an embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the UAE maintains an embassy in Mogadishu.


Relations between the territories of present-day Somalia and the United Arab Emirates stretch back to antiquity. The 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, among other documents, reports early commercial exchanges between traders inhabiting city-states on the northern Somalia littoral with Himyarite and Sabaean merchants, who controlled much of the Arabian peninsula.[1] During the Middle Ages and early modern period, the various Somali Sultanates also maintained close relations with other kingdoms across the Red Sea.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia Abdirahman Duale Beyle meeting with the UAE Ambassador to Somalia Mohamed Al-Osmani in Mogadishu.

In 1969, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates were among the founding members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Both nations are also members of the League of Arab States.

After the start of the civil war in Somalia in 1991, the UAE maintained diplomatic relations with the Somali Transitional National Government and its successor the Transitional Federal Government, and supported their government initiatives.[2] The UAE has also officially supported the Puntland Maritime Police Force since the military body's formation in 2010.[3]

The subsequent establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in August 2012 was welcomed by the Emirati authorities, who re-affirmed the UAE's continued support for Somalia's government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty.[4]

Development cooperation[edit]

In March 2014, Prime Minister of Somalia Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed began an official three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates to discuss strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two nations. During talks with UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Emirati authorities emphasized their commitment to the ongoing post-conflict reconstruction process in Somalia. They also pledged to assist in capacity building and the rehabilitation of government institutions.[5]

In January 2015, new Prime Minister of Somalia Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke met with the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Somalia Mohammed Ahmed Othman Al Hammadi at his Mogadishu office. The officials touched on various matters of bilateral interest, including military operations, governmental re-institutionalization, maritime security, and the local reconstruction process. Sharmarke noted the longstanding and close relationship between the territories of Somalia and the UAE. Ambassador Al Hammadi in turn pledged that the Emirati authorities would support the ongoing developmental activities in Somalia.[6]

In March 2015, Foreign Affairs Minister of Somalia Abdisalam Omer met with th Foreign Affairs Minister of the United Arab Emirates Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. The two leaders touched on various bilateral matters, including strengthening collaboration and cooperation in the security sector, among other areas. They also evaluated ongoing mutual projects and discussed the political situation in Somalia. Omer in turn commended the Emirati government for its various development initiatives in Somalia, and applauded the UAE's commitment to the reconstruction process therein.[7]

Military cooperation[edit]

The United Arab Emirates trained hundreds of Somali troops since 2014.[8] The UAE had been paying the salaries of several hundred Somali soldiers, and trained an anti-piracy force in Puntland state of Somalia. The training mission ended after Somali police seized money in three unmarked bags on a Royal Jet plane at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, according to the Somali interior ministry.[9]

The Somali government announced on Wednesday April 11, 2018, that it will take over paying and training the soldiers in the programme, Defence Minister Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman told Somalia's state news agency Sonna.[10]

"Somalia will fully take over [its troops] trained by the UAE... Those forces will be added to the various battalions of the Somalia National Army," Abdirahman said, adding the soldiers would be integrated into other units on Thursday.[11]


In late March 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.[12]

In November 2014, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance military cooperation.[13]

Diplomatic missions[edit]

The Somali Federal Government maintains an embassy in Abu Dhabi. The diplomatic mission is led by Ambassador AbdulKadir Sheikhey Al-Hatimi.[14]

The United Arab Emirates' embassy in Mogadishu is headed by Ambassador Mohammed Ahmed Othman Al Hammadi.[6]


DP World operates the Port of Berbera in Somaliland.[15] The UAE has announced intentions to open a military base in Somaliland.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schoff (tr. & ed.), W.H. (1912). The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century. London, Bombay & Calcutta.
  2. ^ Somali President hails UAE President's humanitarian efforts
  3. ^ "Somalia: UAE Pledges Continued Support for Puntland Marine Forces". Horseed Media. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Communiqué on Secretary-General's Mini-Summit on Somalia". United Nations. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  5. ^ "SOMALIA: Prime Minister of Somalia meets with UAE's Deputy PM, discuss increased support to Somalia". Raxanreeb. 4 March 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Prime minister Omar meets with UAE ambassador to Somalia". Goobjoog. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  7. ^ "UAE minister of foreign affairs receives Somali counterpart". Goobjoog. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  8. ^ "UAE ends programme to train Somalia's military".
  9. ^ "Somalia disbands UAE programme to pay and train soldiers".
  10. ^ "UAE ends military training program in Somalia after cash seizure crisis".
  11. ^ "Somalia disbands UAE programme to pay and train soldiers".
  12. ^ "Somalia: UAE and Somalia Foreign Ministers Sign Mou On Bilateral Cooperation". Warlalis. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  13. ^ "UAE, Somalia sign military cooperation agreement". Kuwait News Agency. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Embassy of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates". Embassy of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  15. ^ a b Gambrell, Jon (April 17, 2018). "UAE stops training Somalia's military after cash seizure". Defense News.

External links[edit]