Russia shows readiness to supply Somalia’s army with military weapons and other necessary equipment for fighting its war against terrorism in the country and possibly in the Horn of Africa, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the offer after talks with his Somali counterpart Abshir Omar Jama in Moscow.
Russia’s top diplomat said Moscow reaffirmed its readiness to meet the material needs of the Somalian army in its fight against extremists that remain on Somalian territory including “al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda.” The offer further underscores Russia’s growing interest in the African continent upstaging the west in countries facing conflict. Currently, Russian mercenaries Wagner are present in the Central African Republic, Mali, Mozambique and Libya.
On the other side, Abshir Omar Jama also informed about the main activities of the federal government of Somalia to promote the process of national reconciliation, the gradual normalization of the situation in the field of internal security, countering the threat of terrorism and manifestations of extremism.
In the light of the geographical location, Somalia has faced numerous attacks from al-Qaida’s East Africa affiliate group, al-Shabab and recently the government embarked on what has been described as the most significant offensive against the al-Shabab extremist group in more than a decade. The extremist group has held back the recovery from decades of conflict.
Russia’s game plan in Africa has involved seeking alliances with regimes or juntas shunned by the West or facing insurgencies and internal challenges to their rule. The African leaders get recognition from the Kremlin and military muscle from Wagner. They pay for it by giving Russia prime access to their oil, gas, gold, diamonds and valuable minerals.
Russian influence in Africa was evidenced when the United Nations 17 of the 35 countries that abstained from a vote on a resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine were African. Somalia had voted in favor of Ukraine resolution but has been working on improving relations with Russia that were severed in 1978 when Moscow backed Ethiopia in a war with Somalia.
During the talks, topical issues of further strengthening Russian-Somali traditionally friendly relations were discussed in detail. At the same time, the intention of Moscow and Mogadishu to deepen political dialogue, build up mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation, and expand educational and humanitarian ties was confirmed.
Russia and Somalia relations have a long history. Relying on the results achieved in the past decades, both are actively developing and intensifying cooperation in different sectors, working through bilateral channels and other multilateral platforms, and at the United Nations.
Questions related to the preparations for the second Russia-Africa Summit in July of this year were also touched upon. in St. Petersburg. Lavrov and Jama signed a Memorandum of Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia.