Kenya and Somalia seek to improve ties, fight Al-Shabaab

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he relationship between Kenya and Somalia received a major boost on Sunday, following a meeting between Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirizak and his Kenyan counterpart Raychelle Omamo, which comes days after the two nations restored their diplomatic ties.

For months, Kenya has been struggling to relate with Somalia, leading to persistent reprisals and retortions, something which has significantly affected trade fortunes and diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries.

In a joint communique released by the two ministers, they both agreed to convene a meeting that will bring together more stakeholders from both sides, something which will iron out traditional differences which have significantly hurt economic growth in the region.

For this to happen, the two ministers confirmed, envoys to Mogadishu and Nairobi have resumed their work after a shutdown of their diplomatic offices due to differences that have emerged over years. The two missions will now be open.

But their center of the discussion revolved around matters of security and development, with both nations agreeing to activate cooperation in the fight against Al-Shabaab for the sake of peace and stability within the Horn of Africa.

Kenya is a major security partner of Somalia given the participation of the Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The militants often carry small to large scale attacks in Kenya and Somalia, mainly targeting security forces and government officials.

The two ministers insisted on the need to boost security for the sake of promoting peace and stability. Ms. Omamo, who is a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, later on, held talks with Somalia’s outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who approved their visit to either country.

“The Cabinet Secretary extended an invitation to the Minister to visit Kenya, which the latter graciously accepted” the communique states. The communique did not, however, state the intended visit by the Somali PM Mohamed Hussein Roble to Nairobi this week.

Conspicuously missing from the high-ranking officials who received and coordinated the visit by Kenya’s foreign affairs minister is Balal Osman, the Somalia state minister for foreign affairs. Balal is a Farmaajo confidant and is caught in the Villa Somalia infighting.

Some reports indicate that outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is not keen on having Roble visit Kenya as their relationship hit the bottom low. Roble has, however, insisted to go on with the trip, which is scheduled for this week.

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