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Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya in wee hours of the night

COUNTIES
By Mwangi Maina | December 15th 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta hosts  Somaliland president Musa Bihi Abdi at State House, Nairobi, on December 14, 2020. Hours later Somalia severed her diplomatic relations with Kenya by expelling all Kenyan diplomats. [PSCU, Standard]

Somalia has severed diplomatic ties with Kenya in dead of night citing interference and violation of her sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe announced cutting ties with Kenya at around 1:40 am Mogadishu time on state-run SNTV,  hours after President Uhuru held talks with break-away Somaliland President Muse Bihi at State House, Nairobi.

Mogadishu says it will withdraw all its diplomats from Kenya and has ordered Kenyan diplomats to leave the country within 7 days.

‘’Somalia wants all its diplomats to go back to Mogadishu and Kenyan diplomats have 7 days to leave the country,’’ said Osman Dubbe.

He further added that Somalia decided to officially cut diplomatic ties with Kenya because of 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 Mogadishu and Nairobi comes days after Somaliland President Muse Bihi arrived in Kenya on December 13, for a three-day state visit.

Somalia and Somaliland on Monday, December 14, engaged in a war of words on Twitter where Mogadishu accused Hargeisa of undermining its sovereignty after a delegation led by President Muse Bihi met President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi’s statehouse.

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Through its Foreign Affairs, Somalia said Bihi’s visit must be treated with all contempt it deserved.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Somalia later deleted the tweet.

In a rejoinder, Somaliland responded by saying Somalia’s statement was irrelevant, and it shows nothing but only failure and irresponsibility.

Somaliland said it was an independent country which had a right to make decisions to strengthen its mutual ties with Kenya, which is also an independent country.

President Muse Bihi and his delegation are expected to meet Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta later today at State House for talks.

On November 29, Somalia summoned its envoy to Kenya for ‘’consultations’’, accusing Nairobi of interfering with Mogadishu’s electoral process.

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mohamed Ali Nur also ordered Kenya’s top diplomat in Mogadishu Lucas Tumbo out of the country.

[ Below, how Somalia expelled Kenyan ambassador Maj. Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo as the diplomatic tiff gained momentum

Reopening embassy

On November 15, Somalia reopened its embassy building in Nairobi after 26 years.

The building on Lower Kabete Road in Westland’s was bought by the Somali government in 1972 and it has never been used since 1994 after Somalia descended into chaos.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba during the reopening said the res-establishment of the embassy was yet another key step forward in the reconstruction of Somalia.

The CAS assured the Somali government of Kenya’s commitment to enhance bilateral relations through trade and people-to-people engagements.

The reopening of Somalia’s embassy came weeks after Nairobi also opened a new embassy building in Somalia.

The building was opened by the Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau when he led a delegation on November 7.

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