The UAE, together with its ally Saudi Arabia, played a highly visible role in helping make peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. As its footprint across the Horn of Africa grows, the UAE should avoid having intra-Gulf competition colour its engagement.
Originally published in The New York Times
Five days after Sudanese President Bashir ousted 11 April, high-level joint delegation from United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia 16 April met Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) in Sudan, TMC praised Sudan’s “distinguished ties” with both countries; UAE and Saudi Arabia 21 April said they would give Sudan aid worth $3bn ($500mn in central bank and $2.5bn worth of food, medicine and fuel). In response to launch of military offensive led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to take Libyan capital Tripoli, UAE 4 April co-signed statement with France, Italy, UK and U.S. calling for de-escalation around Tripoli.
The quarrel between Gulf monarchies has spilled into Somalia, with the fragile state now caught between the rival interests of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The competition has already aggravated intra-Somali disputes. All sides should take a step back before these tensions mount further.