Somalia on Saturday gave Kenya the green light to reopen its embassy in Mogadishu in a move that seems to end a diplomatic row between the two neighboring countries.
In a communique sent to Nairobi on Saturday, June 12, Somalia says it has “normalised” relations with Kenya, possibly bringing an end to a six-month-long dispute that threatened ties between the two nations.
Somalia also promised to reopen its embassy in Nairobi since nothing more prevented the two sides from resuming full diplomatic 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 Government of Somalia will reciprocally re-open its embassy in Kenya,” read part of the note.
The latest move comes two days after Kenya lifted a three-month ban on flights to and from Somalia.
Kenya said lifting the ban on flights was a gesture of goodwill and commitment in restoring diplomatic, trade, and people-to-people relations for the prosperity of both countries.
In a statement dated June 10, Somalia welcomed the resumption of flights, terming the move as “good for the commencement of bilateral discussions between the two nations.”
Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Abdirizark Mohammed also called for the formation of a joint committee to work out modalities on the full restoration of diplomatic relations with Kenya.
“The Federal Government of Somalia, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation avails itself at the earliest opportunity and proposes formation for a joint committee with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Government of Kenya to come up with modalities leading to full restoration of diplomatic ties between the two nations,” Somalia said through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Diplomatic ties between the two nations suffered a blow in December last year after Somalia accused Nairobi of repeatedly interfering with Mogadishu’s internal affairs.
Kenya rejected claims that it was getting involved in Somalia’s politics, which led to the formation of a special team by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to investigate and report on the matter.
The team returned a ‘no guilty’ verdict, which Somalia refused to acknowledge, accelerating the tensions even further.
On May 5, The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in a notice stated that flights coming in and going to Somalia won’t be allowed for three months with an exception to humanitarian aid and medical evacuations flights.
Security, trade and other relations between the countries were at loggerheads for some five months until Mogadishu’s announcement in May that it was ready for restoration talks to end the stalemate.