Somalia recalls ambassador to Qatar in a diplomatic shift

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – Somalia has recalled its ambassador to Qatar, Abdirisaq Farah Ali Taano, for undisclosed consultation matters, according to the letter obtained by Caasimada Online

In the letter dated March 2, 2023, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia informed the Qatari embassy that Run Said Korshel would take over as the Chargé d’affaires ad interim to the Somali Embassy Doha.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia presents its compliments to the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Somalia and has the honor to inform the latter that H.E. Abdirizaq Farah Ali, Somali Ambassador to the State of Qatar has been recalled home for a consultation and Ms. Run Said Korshel has been appointed as the Chargé d’affaires ad interim to the Somali Embassy in Doha,” the letter said.

“In that connection, the Ministry would appreciate if the esteemed Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar could assist the Chargé d’affaires a.i to carry out her entrusted duties at the Somali Embassy.” 

The decision to recall Ambassador Abdirisaq is seen as a passive sacking due to his close ties with former Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and former intelligence chief Fahad Yassin Haji Dahir.

It also coincided with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s visit to the country on Saturday to participate in a conference on Somalia and hold meetings with Qatari leaders.

Removing Farmajo’s loyalists

Caasimada Online understands that the president intends to replace all ambassadors close to Farmajo with his loyalists to balance his political power in the region.

Among the ambassadors set to be replaced are those in other Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

The ambassador to Egypt, Ilyas Sheikh Omar, appointed in February 2021 to replace Abdiqani Mohamed Wa’ay, who died of COVID-19 in 2020, is expected to be removed due to his closeness to Fahad Yassin.

The ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Salim Haji Macow, appointed by President Farmajo, will also be replaced. Hassan Sheikh visited Riyadh late last year for talks with Saudi officials.

The ambassador to the United Arab Emirates will also be replaced.

Importance of ambassadors to Gulf countries 

Gulf ambassadors are crucial to Somalia due to their economic support and the federal government’s efforts to seek international investment.

This development comes at a time when Somalia is grappling with a range of security and political challenges, including the threat of al-Shabab militant group.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office in 2022, has been working to consolidate his power and strengthen the federal government’s authority. 

Nevertheless, His administration has faced criticism over allegations of corruption and mismanagement. There have been calls for greater transparency and accountability.

The recall of Ambassador Abdirisaq may be part of President Hassan Sheikh’s efforts to reshape Somalia’s diplomatic corps and assert greater control over the country’s foreign policy.

However, it remains to be seen how this move will impact Somalia’s relations with Qatar and other Gulf countries.