Southwest state of Somalia has defended its decision to side with Saudi-led coalition against Qatar on Gulf diplomatic crises.

Abdulkadir Abdirahman Ali, the state minister for security of Southwest administration, told Radio Shabelle that the move came following consultations with the people in the region.

Ali said the many people from Southwest are living in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), some run large businesses, more than any other country in the Gulf states.

The minister added that the Somali government’s recent stand to stay neutral in the Gulf crisis was made without much consideration and consultation with the regional states.

Southwest is the second regional administration in Somalia to side with Saudi-led bloc after Puntland which took the same decision in August, calling the Federal government to reverse its stance.

This is a new challenge for the Federal government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, which stood a neutral position on the three-month Gulf crises.