Somali Government Defends Stance On Saudi-Canada Row Amid Public Criticism

 (STN-MUQDISHO):_Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Awad has defended Somalia’s stance on the Saudi-Canadian diplomatic row but noted the statement Wednesday issued by his ministry did not allude to taking sides in the dispute.

In an interview with BBC Somali Wednesday, Awad said the government’s stance was informed by the call to respect sovereignty and internal decisions of Saudi Arabia.

“It is true that we have supported the decision by the Saudi government that its internal affairs were interfered with,” the Minister said. “We would also have supported the Canadian government against any intervention.”

The minister’s remarks come amid criticism from Somalis against the government’s decision to appear to be siding with Saudi Arabia with some questioning Saudi’s move to deport several Somalis while on the other end Canada was receiving and hosting Somalis.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement Wednesday it was supporting Saudi Arabia over the dispute with Canada while calling for amicable resolution of the dispute.

“The Federal Republic of Somalia makes clear that it supports its brotherly Saudi Arabia’s decision against foreign interference in its internal affairs,” the statement read in part.

Responding to concerns that Mogadishu could have been under pressure from Riyadh, Awad said the government made its own decision devoid of influence.

At the moment, the Somali government can make its decisions far beyond any pressure, and the decision to support the Saudi government was addressed by the leaders and the government of Somalia is strongly standing on her decision.

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