Somalia “satisfied” with Qatar statement on New York Times report

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The Federal Government of Somalia says it is “satisfied” with Qatar statement on the New York Times report alleging Doha of involvement in Bosaso blast in May.

Speaking to VOA Somali Service, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Isse Awad said he received Qatari Ambassador to Somalia at his office in Mogadishu and rebuffed the NYT’s allegations.

Awad said the Ambassador, Hassan Hamza Asad Hashem told him that Qatar has no complicity in the attacks in Somalia and stated that suck terror acts do not represent Doha’s foreign policy principles.

“The Qatari government has issued a statement and shared with us, telling that it is impossible for it to do that act and we’re satisfied with the explanation,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia.

The statement released by Qatar’s communications office on Tuesday says Khalifa al Muhannadi, the businessman mentioned in the report does not represent the Government in any capacity and will be held accountable for his comments.

The Ambassador told the minister during their meeting that the government of Qatar has requested the recordings from the New York Times to support its allegations, however, due to its editorial policies, their request has not been granted.

Qatar said Somalia is an important partner and do not meddle in its internal affairs.

– Puntland request for an investigation –

The president of Somalia’s northeastern Puntland state, Said Abdullahi Deni has asked the two houses of Somali parliament to investigate the New York Times’ report accusing Qatar of involving in terrorist attacks in Bosaso, Puntland’s commercial town.

“This report supports our suspicion that the terrorist attacks in the country were organized out of the country,” said President Deni said on Monday while speaking at Garowe Book Fair.

When asked if he agreed with this request for probe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Federal Government of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad said: The parliament is a free legislative body and Deni speaks on behalf of Puntland”.

In a recent article, the New York Times revealed it had obtained the recording of a phone conversation, just one week after the deadly attack, in which businessman Khalifa Al Muhanadi assured Qatar’s ambassador to Somalia that “our friends were behind the last bombings”.

According to the report, the attack outside Bosaso courthouse appeared that the aim was to undermine the commercial interests of the UAE and scare DP World Company managing Bosaso port so that a Qatar corporation could take its place.

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt broke off diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar over its support for extremist groups. Doha denies all allegations.