19 February 2019

East Africa: Mendy Kenya-Somalia Ties

editorial

The diplomatic dispute between Kenya and Somalia is bad news in a region that is struggling to build strong bilateral relations. The row was sparked by Kenya's decision to expel Somalia's ambassador and recall its own envoy from the Horn of Africa nation over a maritime border dispute that involves lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits.

It is worth noting that Somalia has applied for East African Community (EAC) membership, and its escalating dispute with Kenya comes at a time of heightened tensions among some members of the regional bloc.

The spat is likely to be a distraction that could further complicate efforts to ease tensions within the EAC and put its integration agenda back on track.

Kenya and Somalia should do the right thing by holding urgent talks aimed at normalising relations between the two neighbours. Restoration of cordial relations between Kenya and Somalia will be good for the two countries and, by extension, the EAC.

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