The Somali foreign minister on Friday lauded a Turkish military training camp which is expected to open in Somalia in the coming months.
”This military training camp established by our Turkish friends will be the first professional training camp for the Somali army. That is why it is very important to us,” Yusuf Garaad Omar told Anadolu Agency in Ankara.
”We hope that this base will reinforce the professionalism of our army,” he said.
He added that the facility is very important because Somalia is at the point of renewing its national army.
“I visited the modern facility outside the city,” Omar said.
”We do not have a clear date yet, but we know it will open in a few months,” Omar added.
Speaking about the Qatar-Saudi crisis, he said that Somalia had chosen to stay neutral over the issue.
“Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Somalia, all of these countries are members of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” he said.
”These countries, which are close to Somalia have traditionally been our allies, especially since the independence of our country,” he said.
”We are not satisfied with this diplomatic disagreement. Our position on the issue is neutral. Our call is to resolve this issue through dialogue… This is our position on this,” Omar emphasized.
Thank you Turkey
”Somali population is very thankful to the Turkish government and its people for the humanitarian as well as developmental support for the government and for the country. The Somalia government is committed to the cooperation and we are looking into ways to improve the relationship,” he said.
”Cooperation between Turkey and Somalia did not start long ago… but it has achieved a lot and it is something very visible if you travel in the Somali capital Mogadishu,” Omar added.
”Turkey constructed the airport road. The Turkish government in agreement with the Somali government has established two hospitals, schools and other projects.”
”It is very important cooperation between us [Turkey and Somalia] and it has a good future. A strategic partnership,” he said.
He said drought has affected the Horn of Africa country so much and that there is a ministry in the new cabinet that is in charge of humanitarian affairs.
”What I understand is that this drought compared to 2011 is bigger, but because of the preparedness of Somalia and the international community the impact on human lives is less than in 2011,” he added.
Somalia is one of the several African states facing famine due to drought. Eleven of its 18 regions have been hit by the drought.
The drought has led to a lack of clean water and cholera has killed more than 600 people this year, according to the World Health Organization.
The UN said at least 615,000 people have been displaced since 2016 and 40,000 children have stopped attending school.
*Reporting by Zuhal Demirci; Writing by Felix Nkambeh Tih