MOGADISHU: Top government officials from Iran and Turkey arrived in Mogadishu yesterday on a one-day visit in a bid to bolster diplomatic and economic ties with Somalia as it emerges from decades of civil strife. Leading the two delegations were Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.
Salehi told journalists at the airport on his arrival that Iran would soon establish a diplomatic presence in Somalia. “Our purpose in coming to Somalia is to keep extending our brotherly hand to the Somali people. We are delighted to be in Mogadishu today and very soon, the Iranian government will open the Embassy of Iran in Somalia,” Salehi said. Ahmet Davutoglu for his part told the recently constituted Somali parliament that Ankara would help Somalia in its rebuilding effort. “You are not alone, we are always with you and will help you rebuild this country,” Davutoglu said. The two ministers pledged the support of their respective countries in improving Somalia’s infrastructure, with Iran planning to construct a hospital and Turkey offering to build a road.
In May, representatives from 54 countries who gathered in Istanbul to map out a better future for Somalia called for a broad international reconstruction effort.
Dubai nabs man with heroin in stomach
DUBAI: Customs officials at Dubai airport have arrested an Asian man attempting to smuggle 1.58kg of heroin worth $1.2m in his stomach, local media reported yesterday. “The contraband was stuffed in 133 capsules concealed in the guts of an Asian passenger” who arrived at Dubai International Airport, local daily Khaleej Times reported.
Smuggling bid: Man swallows 220 diamonds
JOHANNESBURG: South African police yesterday said they had caught a Lebanese man who swallowed 220 polished diamonds in an audacious bid to smuggle them from Johannesburg to Dubai. Officers arrested the 25-year-old at Johannesburg’s international airport carrying the gems, worth an estimated $2.3m.
“We nabbed him just before he went through the security checkpoint,” said Paul Ramaloko, spokesman of the South Africa elite police unit, the Hawks.