Somalia reviving ties with Kenya

ABDI SHEIKH

SOMALIA has announced that is restoring diplomatic relations with neighbouring Kenya almost six months after severing ties, accusing Nairobi of meddling in politics.

Relations between the countries have also been tense over the ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off the coast of Jubbaland, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states.

“Now diplomatic relations are restored,” Abdirahman Yusuf, deputy information minister, told a news conference in Mogadishu, saying the Gulf Arab state of Qatar had helped in the process.

Kenya’s foreign ministry said on Thursday evening that it took note of the Somali government’s announcement.

“…(T)he Ministry of Foreign Affairs looks forward to further normalization of relations by the Somali authorities including with regard to trade, communication, transportation, people-to-people relations and cultural exchanges,” it said in a statement. It also acknowledged the support of Qatar in particular in its efforts to normalize relations.

State House in Nairobi tweeted in the afternoon that President Uhuru Kenyatta “received a special message” from Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar that was delivered by the special envoy of Qatar’s foreign minister.

In November, Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own from Nairobi after accusing Kenya of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland.

In February 2019, Kenya recalled its ambassador after Mogadishu decided to auction oil and gas exploration blocks at the centre of their maritime rights dispute. The two countries had revived ties in November the same year.

The two are at present before the World Court to adjudicate the maritime boundary dispute.



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