Somalia mulling ties with Israel

Somali president reportedly planning to consult parliament on possibility of opening diplomatic relations with Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

The government of Somalia may be preparing to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, according to a spokesperson for Somali President Hassan Sheik Mohamud.

Hebrew-language media outlets, including Channel 12 and Kan, cited a spokesperson for President Mohamud who claimed that the Somali head of government is poised to launch talks with parliament to lay the groundwork for formal ties with Israel.

In June, Somali media reported that President Mohamud has been in contact with Israeli officials, with some reports claiming that Mohamud made a clandestine visit to Israel.

Mohamud returned to office in late May, after serving as president from 2012 to 2017.

During his first term in office, Mohamud met secretly in Tel Aviv with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The 2016 meeting came months after Somali and Israeli officials met in Jerusalem in December, 2015.

A report by The Times of Israel cited a Somali diplomat close to Mohamud who said following Mohamud’s reelection in May that his second term as president would be a positive development for Israel-Somali ties.

Somalia, a predominantly Muslim nation and Arab League member state in the Horn of Africa, has never officially recognized the Jewish state.

Channel 12 also reported Saturday that an autonomous region within Somalia has sought U.S. support in opening ties with Israel. According to the report, Bihi Abdi, president of the self-declared state of Somaliland, reached out to American officials, telling them that he had attempted to open diplomatic channels to Israel but had not received any response.

Officials representing Somaliland took part in a May conference in France, hosted by the Israeli embassy, which aimed to expand cooperation between Israel and African countries and businesses.