Setback for Somalia as plan to have Kenya reprimanded flops - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Setback for Somalia as plan to have Kenya reprimanded flops

 

Attempts by Mogadishu to have Nairobi reprimanded by Intergovernmental Authority on Development were dealt a blow following a move to cut ties with Kenya.

The tiff between the two countries landed at Igad after Mogadishu wrote a protest letter against Kenya over alleged interference to its internal affairs.

Somalia announced it had cut its diplomatic ties with Kenya citing constant violation of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Minister of Information Osman Dubbe said Mogadishu will in the next seven days withdraw all its diplomats from Kenya.

Mogadishu accused Nairobi of numerously wanting to create problems in Somalia.

The escalation of the diplomatic spat which led to a ‘divorce’ came hours after Somaliland President Muse Bihi arrived in Kenya on December 13, for a three-day state visit.

Bihi's visit saw Somalia react saying that Somaliland was undermining its sovereignty.

Through its Foreign Affairs, Somalia said Bihi's visit must be treated with all contempt it deserved.



President Farmajo went ahead and wrote a protest letter to Igad claiming Kenya is aiding and arming the Somalia-based militia group al Shabaab.

But instead, the heads of state and governments gathered in Djibouti on Sunday asked Somalia to focus on the electoral calendar as well as reconciliation and security programmes in the country.

Somalia had demanded that an independent team from Igad be sent on the common border of the two countries with a focus of mediating the diplomatic feud.

Initial reports had indicated that the 38th Extraordinary Summit of Igad would focus on regional security challenges, the humanitarian situation in Tigray as well as the rising Covid-19 infections in the region.

Later on, photos circulated on social media where president Uhuru Kenyatta was seen in a meeting with his Somalia counterpart Farmajo.

The African Union Commission then issued a statement saying the tensions between the two countries was a major concern for the region.

Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the diplomatic feud is escalating tension between the two countries.

While citing Kenya's contribution of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and its hosting of a large population of Somali refugees as key reference points, Faki called for dialogue in de-escalating the tension saying the two countries share a long history of good neighbourliness.

The Star has since learned that the Summit was preceded by a series of protests from Somalia, including cutting ties with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of interference in Mogadishu affairs.

Sources said Farmajo had written to  Igad's Chairman Abdalla Hamdok seeking to have the issue placed on the agenda.

But an official communique issued on Monday morning did not indicate the tension was among issues discussed.



Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Mohamed Abdirazak in a session with reporters said Igad leaders pushed for a resolution to the tensions to which Mogadishu agreed but on conditions.

“IGAD leaders have been pressing Somalia to resolve the Kenyan issue within IGAD, through dialogue and consensus. The first step will be to stabilise the situation and the crisis,” Abdirazak said.

He added, "Somalia has agreed to that, but we have a condition that a team be appointed to address the issues that Somalia is complaining about.

As a result, Abdirazak told the local media that Mogadishu's ties with Nairobi will remain severed.

Another source privy to the meeting said Igad leaders agreed that each country’s territorial integrity is paramount but disagreed with Somalia’s aggressive decision to sever diplomatic ties.

The two sides were urged to re-engage to find an amicable solution.

"They warned that lack of cooperation between the two leaders could encourage al-Shabaab to thrive and effectively ruin the electoral programme," the source said.

As a result, the matter was left out of the formal agenda.

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