South Africa

Somalia: Somalia Restores Ties With Kenya

Somalia has restored diplomatic ties it cut with Kenya, following back channels masterminded by Qatar.

The decision was announced on Thursday in what Somalia's presidency said was meant to sustain regional peace and harmony.

Abdirashid M Hashi, the spokesman for Somalia's President Mohamed Farmaajo, said Qatar had steered the resumption of relations but did not elaborate how.

"In [the] interest of good neighbourliness, FGS [Federal Government of Somalia] resumes diplomatic ties with Kenya based on mutual benefit and respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-external interference, peaceful co-existence and equality.

"Somalia and Kenya Presidents thank [the] Emir of Qatar for his good offices in this regard."

The move seemed likely earlier this week after the Qatar Emir sent his special envoy to Somalia and Kenya. In Kenya, State House said Dr Mutlaq bib Majed al-Qahtani had delivered a special message from the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.

Dr Al-Qahtani, has been Qatari's Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution, and was largely involved in negotiations between the Afghani government and the Taliban, to allow US troops to pull out without a security vacuum.

The resumption of ties follows a series of back channels between Somalia, Kenya and Qatar, which has enjoyed an influential position in Somalia under President Farmaajo. Nairobi had involved Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i in messages sent to Mogadishu, back in September when the two countries started engaging in accusations, as well as to Doha last month.

Somalia had cut ties with Kenya in December 2020 and ordered its ambassador, Mohamed Nur Tarsan, to return home and Kenya's Lucas Tumbo ordered back to Nairobi. Mogadishu accused Nairobi of political interference, claims Kenya denied.

Somalia's partners and the African Union had warned that cutting of ties could jeopardise focus on counter-terrorism measures.

Nairobi did not immediately comment on the resumption of ties, although Kenya did not formally cut ties with Somalia.

Somalia and Kenya have an ongoing maritime case at the International Court of Justice, and the dispute had helped foment tensions under Farmaajo's tenure.

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