East Africa: Somalia Severs Ties With Kenya Over Dalliance With Somaliland

Somalia flag, left, Kenya flag
15 December 2020

Nairobi — Somalia has announced that it has severed its diplomatic ties with Kenya citing interference and violation of her sovereignty and territorial integrity, in a longstanding stand-off linked to Kenya's dalliance with semi-autonomous Somaliland.

In an announcement made on state-run SNTV, Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe, the lawless country ordered Kenyan diplomats to leave the country within seven days. It also summoned back its diplomats from Nairobi.

He noted that the decision to sever relationships with Kenya was informed by the latter's frequent 'interference' with her politics and Kenya always wanting to create problems in Somalia.

The escalation of the diplomatic spat which has led to a 'divorce' between the two neighbours comes two days after Somaliland President Muse Bihi arrived in Kenya on a three-day state visit that included talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The move seemingly angered the Somalia government considering Somaliland is a self-declared de-facto state which is not recognized internationally but identified as part of Somalia.

"Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland but takes cognizance of the political and economic stability of the region and is keen to enhance and broaden trade in goods and services, as well as, investment as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation with the region," the foreign ministry said while announcing the arrival of President Bihi in the country Sunday.

Somalia and Somaliland on Monday engaged in a war of words on Twitter where Mogadishu accused Hargeisa of undermining its sovereignty.

Somalia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Kenya of placing intense political pressure on the regional President of Jubaland, in order to pursue its political and economic interests in Somalia.

In effect, it recalled its Ambassador to Kenya Mahamed Ahmed Nuur Tarzan and sent away Kenya's envoy to Mogadishu Lucas Tumbo.

"The government took this decision while preserving its national sovereignty after it appeared that Kenya was deliberately interfering in the affairs of Somalia, particularly Jubbaland," the Somalia govt said in a statement issued on November 30.

It accused Kenya of placing intense political pressure on the regional President of Jubaland, in order to pursue its political and economic interests in Somalia.

"The Somali government expresses its regret in the government of Kenya's overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to the stability, security and development of the entire region," Somalia said in a statement, adding that "the Federal Government of Somalia believes that the Kenyan government actions are not in line with the internationally recognized diplomatic relations enjoyed by the Sovereign States."

Nonetheless, Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the allegations terming them as "untrue and unsubstantiated."

"It is incumbent upon all political actors in Somalia to stay true to their political commitments and avoid distracting actions, but rather engage constructively to ensure timely implementation of the election calendar which will mark another critical phase in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia," Kenya said.

Somalia is scheduled to hold elections next year.

Further, the Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo-regime in Mogadishu went ahead and suspended the visa-on-arrival plan for Kenyans which will mean Kenyans have to apply for visas at the embassy in Nairobi.

Kenya is host to hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees and has suffered horrific and tragic terrorist attacks emanating out of Somalia that has left many dead or injured.

Kenya has also invested heavily in AMISOM to try to help secure Somalia.

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