The Somalia government has welcomed Kenya’s move to reopen its airspace for flights to and from the country following a month-long closure due to a diplomatic tiff.
In a statement seen by this writer, the Somalia government said the move is an important step forward in the process of enhancing bilateral trade, communication and movement of citizens between the two countries.
“The positive gesture by the Government of Kenya is a starting point to commence negotiations aimed at full normalization of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya,” the statement dated June 10 reads.
“The two brotherly nations have always collaborated in security, trade and mutual cultural relations which are based on common interests good neighborliness, respect for sovereignty and political independence.”
Authorities in Mogadishu proposed formation of a joint committee to help the two countries work on their diplomatic ties.
“The Federal Government of Somalia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation avails itself at the earliest opportunity and proposes formation of a paint Committee with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya to come up with modalities leading to full restoration of diplomatic ties between the two nations,” Somalia added.
“The Federal Government of Somalia reaffirms its commitment to restore and accelerate diplomatic, trade and people-to-people relations for prosperity of Somalia and Kenya.”
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) suspended flights to and from Somalia on May 11, 2011, following a tensed diplomatic ties between the two nations.
In a statement to newsrooms yesterday, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the reopening of the airspace is goodwill gesture to boost the bilateral ties with Somalia.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya…has taken due consideration of intercessions made and has decided to re-open Kenya’s airspace to all flights originating from Somalia and emanating from Kenya to Somalia,” the Ministry said.
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“This goodwill measure has been made in the mutual interest of our two countries and in the hope that it will cause the full normalisation bilateral relations between Kenya and Somalia including diplomatic, trade and people to people linkages that have undergone undue strain.”
The flight ban was implemented after Somalia insisted on ban of miraa (khart) from Kenya despite the two nations having restored diplomatic ties.
On May 6, 2021, Somalia announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Kenya after mediation by the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.
In a statement, the Federal Government of Somalia said it was restoring the relations in the “interests of good neighborliness”.
Somalia had in December last year accused Kenya of interfering with its internal affairs.
“The two governments agree to keep friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence. The Presidents of both countries are grateful and thankful to the Emir of State of Qatar for his good offices in this regard,” the statement read in part.