Qatar envoy fails to meet top leaders during his mediation in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Despite having an opportunity to meet a number of leaders from Somalia, Qatar's envoy from the Foreign Affairs department Mutlaq Al-Qahtani may have after all not fulfilled his desires, given that a number of top leaders snubbed his meetings.
Al-Qahtani is a known mediator and had been dispatched by Doha to mediate the fragile Somalia crisis, which had taken a new dimension, after Farmajo agreed to have talks with members of the opposition, effectively renouncing his term extension.
But the presidents of Puntland and Jubaland didn't meet with Mutlaq Al-Qahtani until now, rendering his mission "infertile". There were suggestions that he meets Said Abdullahi Deni and Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe in Garowe and Kismayo respectively.
Before that, there were suggestions that he meets the two powerful regional leaders in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya but the two leaders dismissed such claims adding that "there is no such a meeting in Kenya". They have been vocal on matters of Somalia's elections.
It is yet unclear why the two Federal state leaders Said Abdullahi Deni and Ahmed Madobe have not met the Qatari envoy who has been in Mogadishu for nearly a week on a mission to mediate the current political and electoral crisis in the country.
Qatar is one of the Gulf countries with a special interest in Somalia, but its approach has often been criticized by many in the country, including the opposition leaders.
Since May 1 Al-Qahtaniwas holding talks with Somali political stakeholders in the country, including a number of top government and opposition leaders among them PM Mohamed Hussein Roble.
Some presidential candidates had flatly refused to meet with the envoy, arguing that "not until Qatar ceases to interfere with Somali politics which is outside her jurisdictions".
The opposition candidates have previously accused Qatar of being bias in the ongoing efforts to resolve the election stalemate in the country. They have persistently asked Qatar to stop meddling in Somalia's internal politics, which keeps on deteriorating.
The Qatari delegation led by Qatar special envoy Al-Qahtani on Saturday arrived in the Horn of the Africa nation on an unofficial visit and held bilateral talks with Somaliland president Muse Bihi Abdi.
Doha has been accused of supporting incumbent outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo but the government has distanced itself from the claims. There are also allegations that Qatar supports violence against critics of Farmajo, whose term expired on Feb 8.
Early this week, Farmajo also held talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim of Qatar with their talks revolving around bilateral ties between the two nations. Qatar and Turkey have a huge influence on the current administration of Somalia, a move that has often irked the opposition.