Kenyan leader meets with Somali prime minister to mend ties

Kenya, Somalia end diplomatic row that crippled security, education, trade ties

Andrew Wasike   | 10.08.2021
Kenyan leader meets with Somali prime minister to mend ties Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta dressed in Traditional Somali attire, a gift from visiting Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble. Photo: Andrew Wasike - Anadolu Agency


Kenya and Somalia agreed to reset their bilateral relations, the Kenyan Presidency announced Tuesday after a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble.

"The prosperity of our people is key. Let us open a new page for our people by encouraging people-to-people and interactions," Kenyatta told Roble after chairing bilateral talks at Kenya's State House in the southeastern coastal city of Mombasa to mend severed ties between the two countries.

The Kenyan leader added that an amicable resolution should be reached soon for the maritime border dispute that had driven a wedge between the two nations.

"Without peace, there cannot be prosperity. Let us focus on providing services to our people. This can only be possible if we work together to root out terrorism. It's time to improve trade and sort out immigration issues to allow increased people-to-people interactions." Kenyatta said, highlighting the importance of regional security.

Somalia announced in December 2020 that it was cutting diplomatic ties with its southwestern neighbor, accusing Kenya of violating Somali sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Relations between the conutries have been marred by increasing tensions stemming from security and maritime border disputes.

For his part, Roble regretted the recent deterioration in relations, saying it was an error for the two nations to forsake the vision of unity held by their respective founding fathers.

"Today, is the beginning of a strong and deep relationship of our brotherhood. Somalia will work hard to strengthen the Joint Commission for Cooperation in the interest of both peoples, their unity and stability and beyond the region and the continent" Roble said through a translator.

"We will look for opportunities that lead to lasting stability and peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and genuine cooperation, while avoiding anything that could harm that relationship," he added.

Roble said that robust diplomatic ties are key to promoting trade, security, and people-to-people interactions.

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