Friday April 30, 2021
Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani - CREDIT: Qatar Tribune
Mogadishu (HOL) - A special envoy from Qatar is expected to visit Somalia next week, according to government sources.
Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Qatar's Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, is expected to arrive in Mogadishu in the coming days to meet with Somalia leaders.
Al-Qahtani's visit next week comes at a time of heightened political tension among Somali leaders. A controversial decision to extend the federal government's mandate by Somalia's Lower House of Parliament has been met with fierce opposition at home and abroad. It all came to a boil on Sunday when soldiers defected from the frontlines of the battle with Al-Shabaab and entered the capital, setting off a day of intense fighting with government troops.
Although Qatar has strong bilateral ties with Somalia, the opposition may feel threatened by Qatar's presence in the process. They may raise concerns about the Gulf nation's relationship and influence with President Farmajo and Somalia's spy chief Fahad Yasin, a former Al Jazeera journalist who the opposition has fingered as Doha's bagman.
Al-Qahtani is an accomplished mediator and was recognized by the UN with the Best Negotiator Award in 2020 for his role in the US-Taliban peace agreement.