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Map of Somalia locating the capital Mogadishu/AFP

Africa

Somalia asks Kenya to re-open its Mogadishu diplomatic mission

NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 13 – Somalia has asked Kenya to re-open its diplomatic mission in Mogadishu days after restoring ties.

In a statement, Somalia Foreign Affairs Ministry said it is ready to reciprocate and re-open its embassy in Nairobi so as to foster relations.

“In the spirit of good neighbourliness, the Federal Republic of Somalia calls on the Republic of Kenya to re-open its diplomatic mission in Somalia and the Federal Republic of Somalia will reciprocate and re-open its embassy in Kenya,” the statement said.

We sought a comment from Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on the Mogadishu statement but there was no immediate response.

Somalia cut ties on December 15, 2020 after Kenya hosted the leadership of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognised by the central government in Mogadishu.

But it announced in May that it had restored diplomatic ties with Kenya, five months after bilateral relations were suspended between the often-tense neighbours over allegations of interference.

“The Federal Government of Somalia announces that in keeping with the interests of good neighbourliness, it has resumed diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kenya,” the ministry of information said in a statement.

“The two governments agree to keep friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other internation affair.”

The statement thanked the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, whom it credited with playing a part in the reconciliation, and said the thaw had been welcomed by Kenya.

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Nairobi said it took note of the statement and was looking forward “to further normalisation of relations by the Somali authorities.”

“The ministry of foreign affairs acknowledges the continued support that has been extended from the international community, and in particular the government of Qatar, in efforts to normalise the diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya,” it said in a statement.

Somalia has long bristled over what it calls Kenya‘s meddling in regions over its border, while Nairobi has accused Mogadishu of using it as a scapegoat for its own political problems.

The pair have also 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, and have sought international arbitration over the matter.

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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