The UAE has played an important role in providing development of infrastructure and logistical support in humanitarian relief operations in Somalia. UAE is one of the key donors of charitable and development aid to Somalia. It officially supports the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a professional maritime security primarily aimed at fighting piracy on the high seas and safeguarding the Somalia marine resource.
Since late 2006 Somalia has been gripped by renewed armed conflict in which thousands have been killed and thousands more displaced. It is considered to be one of the world’s worst refugee crisis zones ,with over a million people displaced within Somalia and 500,000 fleeing to other countries.
Somalis forced to flee war and famine, are now living in overcrowded and unsanitary camps within their country and the neighboring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen. In Somalia itself, insecurity has hindered international aid agencies from reaching the 485,000 people who have fled from the capital of Mogadishu to makeshift settlements for the displaced in the Afgooye corridor.
The horrific conditions seen in these three places — Afgooye, Dadaab and Bokolmayo – are replicated across the region, with the services being provided to these vulnerable and desperate people far below acceptable international standards.
UAE’s Role in development of Somalia
In this regard, a UAE delegation led by State Minister Dr. Sultan Al Jaber to provide infrastructure, health, transport and energy, visited Somalia recently for the first time in 30 years. The president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud expressed profound gratitude to the leadership, government and people of the UAE for the generous support and assistance provided to the Somali people by the UAE.
Humanitarian aid offered by UAE to Somalia from 2009 to 2012 surpassed AED 213 million.This was revealed in the report released by the UAE Office for Coordination of Foreign Aid at the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation.The report pointed out that the aid included relief in emergency cases, charitable, religious and educational cases, curbing of conflicts, population reproduction, health and food aid programmes. Over 15 government and humanitarian entities supervised the provisioning of the aid.
The President also thanked the UAE for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him during his visit to Abu Dhabi in March and thanked the UAE authorities for the assistance offered to the Somali community within the UAE.
The UAE delegation met with top government officials including Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, and Foreign Minister Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan.
Dr. Al Jaber said the visit is consistent with the UAE leadership’s keenness to support efforts aimed at preserving stability and achieving economic and social development in Somalia in order to meet their legitimate aspirations towards security and stability.
As he noted the marked improvement of the conditions in Somalia, Dr. Al Jaber affirmed the UAE’s commitment to advance existing bilateral cooperation so as to serve interests of the two fraternal peoples.
UAE keen on boosting bilateral ties:
The UAE minister said Somalia is blessed with a strategic geographic location with huge potential and resources to deliver the hoped-for development, which he stressed, needs good institutional performance.
He also expressed the UAE’s support for a new international conference on the future of Somalia which the UK will host on May 7, in London.
Members of the UAE delegation conferred with their Somali counterparts and conducted field tours during which they explored avenues of joint cooperation in areas of infrastructure, marine transport and shipping, and energy. The two sides expressed satisfaction at efforts being made to boost bilateral ties and pledged to remove obstacles that could hinder progress of these relations and to promote constructive cooperation aimed at realising the aspirations of the two fraternal people.
The UAE delegation also toured the Emirates Peace Village where he inspected the logistical and medical services the field hospital provides to Somali people. The UAE is a key donor of charitable, humanitarian and development aid to Somalia.
The two sides affirmed the importance of preserving the territorial integrity of Somalia and its independence and sovereignty over its lands as well as respect for its security and stability.
The Somali officials hailed the UAE’s unequivocal support for their country especially in fighting terrorism and maritime piracy. Talks between the two sides covered the latest developments in the Arab and Islamic worlds and a variety of international issues of mutual concern.
Dr. Al Jaber lauded the role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in maintaining stability and security in the country.