Somalia, Kenya Agree to Mend Strained Relations

The governments of Somalia and Kenya agreed to improve strained diplomatic ties following a meeting in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, between officials of both countries on Sunday.

The Kenyan delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Raychelle Omamo held talks with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

According to a press statement from the prime minister’s office, the neighboring states, whose ties have not been on a strong footing for several months, agreed to cement their relations particularly in the areas of diplomacy, trade and security.

The statement further added that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta extended an invitation for Somalia’s prime minister to visit Nairobi.

Somalia has underscored that an existing maritime dispute between both nations will be decided by The Hague-based International Court of Justice, or ICJ, despite several requests by Kenya to reach a settlement out of court.

Mogadishu severed diplomatic ties with Nairobi in December of last year over claims of Kenyan political interference in Somalia’s affairs, an accusation denied by Nairobi.

Analyst Ali Abdulkadir said the visit by the Kenyans is a sign of improving relations despite thorny issues on both sides.

He said the disagreement over the maritime border has been the main cause of the diplomatic dispute over the years, adding that since Kenya acknowledged that the case at ICJ is irreversible, there has been a need to improve bilateral relations.

Kenya is among countries that have contributed to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia to fight armed group al-Shabab since a Kenyan troop incursion into southern Somalia in late 2011. The militants have carried out attacks inside Kenya since then.

Source: Voice of America