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UAE welcomes Somali apology for seized cash, easing dispute

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) late Tuesday welcomed the prime minister of Somalia’s public apology for a Somali operation in 2018 that resulted in the seizure of Emirati aircraft and USD9.6 million in cash, wrecking relations between the nations.

The Emirati foreign ministry thanked Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble for his “initiative” to settle the dispute, which prompted the UAE to end a military training mission in Somalia that had helped the conflict-ravaged nation rebuild after decades of chaos.

Somalia’s apology “reflects the depth of the historical relations” between the nations and “appreciation for the UAE’s purposeful role in supporting the Somali people and their government”, the Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency said.

In a dramatic incident in April 2018, Somali agents boarded an Emirati airplane at the Mogadishu airport, held Emirati soldiers at gunpoint and made off with bags of cash that the country’s security services claimed were undeclared US dollars. The UAE said the funds had been flown in to pay salaries of Somali soldiers and provide other aid.

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, meets with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble in Abu Dhabi. PHOTO: AP