According to a report in the New York Times on 22 July 2019, the well-known US publication been able to get hold of an audio recording after Islamic militants carried out a bombing in Bosaso in Somalia which wounded eight people. The audio recording is of the Qatari Ambassador to Somalia Hassan bin Hamza Hashem talking with Qatari businessman Khalifa Kayed al Muhanadi who is close to His Highness The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. It has been stated that in the audio recording, Al Muhannadi said the bombing in Bosaso had been carried out by militants so hat Qatar's interests could be advanced and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be driven out.
The New York Times also states that in the last two years since the blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, war-torn Somalia has been the centre of attention for Qatar and UAE, with each of the two countries providing their favoured factions in the war with military training and weapons, and each claimed that the other was bribing local Somalian officials and competing for contracts to manage ports and exploit the country's natural resources.
The Qatar Government Communications Office (GCO) has responded to the above news report and shared the following official statement with the New York Times:
"Qatar’s foreign policy has always been one of creating stability and prosperity – we do not meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Anybody doing so is not acting on behalf of our government. In Somalia, the UAE has pursued a foreign policy that seeks to manipulate and control, in exchange for financial support.
Khalifa al Muhannadi is not, and has never been, an advisor of any sort to the government of Qatar. He does not represent Qatar and he had no right to comment on behalf of the government. We will be investigating this individual and he will be held responsible for his comments, which we reiterated do not represent our principles.
Somalia is an important partner for Qatar, but we do not interfere in their internal affairs. Our relationship with Somalia is built on mutual respect and shared interests. We hope for the best for its government and its people. Our support to them will continue until stability is maintained."
The GCO has requested the recordings from the New York Times to support its investigation into the allegations. Due to their editorial policies, this request has not been granted. The GCO respects the policies of the New York Times and will not be taking further action in this regard.
What do you think of these recordings and the allegations by the New York Times? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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