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After siding with Saudi Arabia in diplomatic row with Sweden, Somali govt eases Sweden relations

Hiiraan Online
Friday, April 17, 2015

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MOGADISHU (HOL) ---Somali government's support to Saudi Arabia in a stormy diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Sweden hasn't impressed its citizens who lambasted the government for its support to Saudi government which expelled hundreds of Somalis against Sweden which gives asylum to thousands of Somalis each year.

The row started after the Swedish foreign minister criticized Saudi Arabia's record of human and women's rights. In response to the criticism, Saudi Arabia accused Sweden of disrespecting Islam and sharia law, an accusation denied by the Swedish government. In addition, Saudi Arabia also cancelled visas to Swedish nationals.

The Swedish government has taken a similar step, cancelling its military deal with Saudi Arabia over human rights issues.

Meanwhile, domestic pressure and criticism forced the government to comfort the concern, affirming the country's relations with Sweden as 'unbreakable'.

"The bond between Sweden and Somalia is unbreakable. Our relationship dates back to post independence in the 1960s," said a statement issued by Somalia's prime minister following a meeting with the Swedish Ambassador Mikael Lindvall in Mogadishu on Thursday.

"That relationship is strengthened by our shared objective of advancing peace and stability in Somalia, and promoting tolerance and respect for people of all faiths." He said.

Sweden is home to tens of thousands of Somalis who are thriving in their adopted country, and are sending back vital support to their families and friends in Somalia.

"As a champion of human rights globally, Sweden has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and respect for all cultures and religions, including Islam and Muslims." The statement added.

It's unclear if the government's new position would infuriate Saudi Arabia which maintains an unfriendly relation with Sweden after the beginning of the diplomatic row last month.



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