(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and UAE Ambassador to Somalia Mohammed Ahmed Al Othman, opened yesterday the Military Training Centre of the Somalia Armed Forces, funded by the Government of the UAE, in the capital Mogadishu.
Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte, Minister of Defence Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali Diini, and a number of Somali ministers, Arab and foreign ambassadors, representatives of international organisations and top Somali army commanders, attended the opening ceremony.
In his address to the audience, Al Othman said, ''The UAE, in implementation of the instructions given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has undertaken mega projects covering political, diplomatic military, developmental, economic and humanitarian fields as part of its efforts to support the sisterly Federal Republic of Somalia.'' The aim of the centre, the Ambassador added, is to train a brigade that will be able to protect the country.
He emphasised that it is important to strengthen Somalia's capacities so as to be able to confront terrorism in the form of the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization which undermining peace and stability in the country.
Highlighting 2015 as a year of achievement for the UAE development projects in Somalia, the UAE envoy revealed that the UAE Hospital would be open in the coming few days at Abdulaziz District which will provide free medical care to more than 300 patients per day.
''The UAE will spare no effort to stand by the fellow Somali people, who have been enduring the scourge of the civil war and terrorism for more than two decades. The UAE is working hard to provide the necessary support that helps Somalia to restore its security and stability,'' he stressed.
Taking the podium, President Hassan paid gratitude to President Khalifa and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for the generous assistance they extended to his country and for standing beside Somalia and its people, which experienced political and economic crises over the past 23 years.
''Based on our desperate need for security, the UAE has provided military training and equipment to the security forces and national armed forces in a bid to upgrade the national army's capabilities to defend the homeland,'' the President said.
''The UAE was the first country that swiftly responded to the Somali government's call for upgrading the deteriorating social services. It has actually built police stations, schools, and health clinics, in addition to digging artesian wells in different parts of the south and central region of the country.'' The Somali head of state indicated that His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has pledged him during a meeting in Abu Dhabi that the UAE would rebuild Somalia and the UAE leaders did really keep their promises and the opening of this centre stands testimony in this regard.
He went on to note that the UAE was implementing critical developmental and humanitarian projects in Somalia and was training and qualifying the national army and security forces to have a strong deterrence ability against takfiri and terrorist groups including the Al-Shabaab, which is affiliated to Daesh and Boko Haram, which don't want the world to live in peace.
The Somali President called on other countries to follow in the steps of the leaders and people of the UAE.
Minister of Defence General Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali Diini thanked the UAE for the development aid it extended to Somalia and, in particular, its military assistance to the national armed forces.
Later, the President of Somalia watched a military parade of the first batch of the forces that received training at the new centre. He, along with the guests, inspected facilities of the centre.
He and the UAE envoy presented certificates of appreciation to the outstanding recruits, their instructors and trainers.