Somalia has restored diplomatic ties with Kenya after it severed relations on 15th December 2020, accusing Nairobi of meddling in its political affairs. The restoration of ties follows mediation by Qatar.
Somalia severed ties after Kenya hosted Somaliland’s leadership, a breakaway state not recognized by the central government in Mogadishu.
The country has long bristled over what it calls Kenya’s meddling in regions over its border. On the other hand, Nairobi has accused Mogadishu of using it as a scapegoat for its own political problems.
The two governments agree to keep friendly relations between them based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.
Statement from Somalia’s Ministry of Information
Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it looks forward to further normalization of relations by Somali authorities, which include with regard to trade, communication, transportation, people-to-people relations and cultural exchanges.
In November last year, Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own from Nairobi after accusing Kenya of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland.
Ties between the countries have also been tense over ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off Jubbaland’s coast, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states. The dispute over which nation controls access to the lucrative deposits escalated in 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 2019.
The case filed by Somalia in 2014 at the International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s highest court for disputes between states, was heard by the court in the Hague in March this year. Kenya did not participate in those hearings.
The diplomatic tensions have also affected trade, with Somalia last year banning the import of Kenyan khat, a mild stimulant leaf that injects millions of dollars into Kenya’s economy.
And last month, Kenya’s announcement that it would close the Dadaab refugee camp, which hosts hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, was seen by critics as a reprisal against Mogadishu, particularly over the maritime dispute.
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