Kenya and Somalia Commit to Re-Energize Diplomatic Ties

Published: August 10, 2021

Nairobi — Kenya and Somalia have committed to re-energize ties as Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo opens new chancery in Mogadishu to hasten cooperation talks.

A statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said CS Omamo and her Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdirazak agreed to welcome the return of their respective ambassadors to their diplomatic stations in Nairobi and Mogadishu.

“This is a pointer to the commitment of opening a new chapter in the bilateral relations to correspond with aspirations of both governments and the people of the two neighboring countries,” part of the statement states.

The two further committed to work with the international community to promote peace and security within the horn of Africa region and beyond.

“The ministers also noted the threat posed by terrorism, extremism and other organized transnational crimes and welcomed regional and international efforts to eradicate these vices,” the statement read.

In December last year Somalia announced it was severing diplomatic ties with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of “recurring” interference in its political affairs as Mogadishu prepared long-awaited 2021 elections which were conducted in May.

The move came after Kenya hosted the leadership of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognized by Mogadishu, following months of tensions between the two neighbours.

Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe told reporters that Kenyan diplomats in Mogadishu had been given seven days to leave, and that Somalia’s envoys were being recalled from Nairobi.

But in May this year, the two countries began the journey of normalizing diplomatic relations which was further affected over a maritime border dispute.

The two countries had been engaged in a long-running territorial dispute over a stretch of the Indian Ocean claimed by both nations believed to hold valuable deposits of oil and gas.

The row over which nation controls access to the lucrative deposits escalated in early 2019 after Somalia decided to auction off oil and gas blocks in a disputed maritime area, prompting Kenya to recall its ambassador from Mogadishu in February of that year.

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