Somalia has 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”.
“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.
The announcement came hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta received a special message from the Amir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the State House Nairobi.
The Amir’s message was delivered to the President by Dr Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, who is the Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution.
Somalia cut ties with Kenya on December 15, 2020, after accusing Nairobi of interference in its internal affairs.
In a statement, Somalia accused Kenya of infringing its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby expresses its deep regret with the Kenyan government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia,” the statement read in part.
Kenya has been backing of Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe, a staunch opponent of Samali’s President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo”.
Kenya and Somalia has also been fighting over a maritime territory rich in hydrocarbon and minerals.
Kenya has argued the sea border should be drawn parallel to the line of latitude, while Somalia saying it should be extended in the same direction as its land border.
In 2014, the matter was referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is now the ultimate arbiter.
In January 2021, the Government of Somalia has rejected a report by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Fact-Finding Commission for the Reconciliation of Somalia and Kenya.
In a statement, Somalia termed the commission as biased, unfair and compromised after it exonerated Kenya from allegations of interfering with Somalia’s sovereignty by arming “rebels”.
“The commission considers that these grievances, some of which are longstanding, do not appear to it to be sufficient to justify a diplomatic separation between Kenya and Somalia. It is true that the federal government of Somalia is sovereign in its decisions,” says part of a report by the team.
IGAD added the consequences of the diplomatic standoff on the 3,000 Somali children attending Kenyan schools on the other side of the border, the hindrance to the functioning of Amisom which has since been experiencing difficulties in relief operations among Kenyan troops and the economic impact of the embargo on khat in the agricultural region of Meru are a perfect illustration of this.
It recommended that more diplomatic efforts be deployed at the highest level in order to reconcile the two sisterly countries of Kenya and Somalia.