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Saudi splurging out to rally support against Iran: Report
Saudi Arabia pledged the Somali government USD 50 million in aid on the same day Mogadishu declared it had severed ties with Iran, a report says.
According to a document from the Saudi embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, to the embassy of Somalia there, the regime in Riyadh pledged USD 20 million in budget support to Mogadishu and USD 30 million for investment in the African country, Reuters reported Sunday.
The news agency quoted diplomats as saying that the financial support is “the latest sign of patronage used by the kingdom to shore up regional support against Iran.”
“The Saudis currently manage to rally countries behind them both on financial grounds and the argument of non-interference,” a diplomat said. Iran has repeatedly denied the Saudi allegations of interference in the affairs of other countries.
On January 2, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 other people. Nimr was a critic of Riyadh. After that, protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and the consulate building in the city of Mashhad. Some people attacked the Saudi diplomatic missions during the protests. Iranian authorities strongly condemned the attacks and some 60 people were detained.
Riyadh severed its ties with Tehran on January 3.
Somalia was among those countries that declared they were cutting diplomatic relations with Iran. Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti and Comoros also have severed ties with Iran. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates recalled ambassadors.
The Somali government has not confirmed or denied the pledge, but Mogadishu claims the Saudi support for Somalia, which has been long-running, is not related to the decision to break diplomatic ties with Iran. The Saudi Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.