EU slams UAE retaliatory acts against Somalia over Gulf crisis

The European Parliament has condemned the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying the country was taking retaliatory actions against Somalia for the latter’s neutral position on the Gulf crisis.

In a resolution passed on Wednesday, the Belgium-based parliament said that Somalia has “sought to remain neutral” on the ongoing Gulf crisis, but was in turn “deprived of regular budgetary support payments by Saudi Arabia and the UAE”.

“In terms of the wider confrontation between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar, on the other, the Federal Government of Somalia has sought to remain neutral; whereas, in retaliation, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have ceased their regular budgetary support payments to Somalia, which further weakens the government’s ability to pay the security forces,” the resolution reads.

The European Parliament statement urged “the UAE to cease forthwith all acts of destabilisation in Somalia and respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The dispute between Qatar on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on the other, has been ongoing since June 5, 2017, when the latter countries announced they were cutting ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade.

The Arab countries accuse Doha of supporting “terrorism” and “extremist groups” – charges Qatar strongly denies.

Somalia has had an unstable security situation for decades. An al-Qaeda-linked group, al-Shabab, is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed central government and establish its own rule based on its interpretation of Islamic law in the Horn of Africa country.

The group used to control most parts of the country, but since 2010, its fighters have been removed from most major towns and cities, though continue to carry out deadly attacks.