Kenya, Somalia Agree to Cement Ties

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta received visiting Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Hussein Roble at State House, Mombasa. (PHOTO CREDIT| PRESIDENCY)

Kenya and Somalia have agreed to mend the severed diplomatic ties.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Somali Prime Minister held talks on Tuesday in the coastal city of Mombasa to reset relations after months of strained ties.

Kenyatta, who presided over the bilateral meeting, stated that both countries need to work together more on security, trade, and investment issues. 

“Prosperity of our people is key. Let us open a new page for our people by encouraging people-to-people and interactions,” Kenyatta said in a statement after the talks.

He also expressed his satisfaction at the resumption of diplomatic relations and advocated for a peaceful resolution to the maritime dispute.

Mohamed Abdirizak, Somalia’s foreign minister, said early Tuesday that his government will not discuss the maritime dispute with Kenya. 

“Our travel to Kenya and Kenya’s foreign minister visit to Somalia signifies the importance of improving diplomatic relations and strengthening the two countries’ relations which include the movement of people, good neighborliness,” Abdirizak said. 

The relations between the two countries have not been good after Mogadishu accused Nairobi of interfering with its sovereignty and internal affairs. A claim denied by Kenya. 

Kenya and Somalia have also been in engaged in territorial disagreement over who owns the 100,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean believed to hold oil and gas deposits. The maritime dispute is at the International Court of Justice.

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble regretted the deterioration of relations between Kenya and Somalia.

“Today is the beginning of a strong and deep relationship of our brotherhood. Somalia will work hard to strengthen the Joint Commission for Cooperation in the interest of both peoples, their unity and stability and beyond the region and the continent,” Roble said.

Roble and his delegation which includes some ministers, will travel to Nairobi on Wednesday to visit the Somali embassy and meet Somali citizens living in Kenya.