His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, landed in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, today, where, according to a Presidency statement, talks with high-level Kenyan government officials will start for him and his delegation.
“During the visit of the President in Kenya, he and his delegation will hold talks with Kenyan counterparts including the President aiming to further diplomatic ties and other variegated cooperation relations between the two countries,” Mohamoud Warsame Jama, Presidency Spokesperson said.
The meeting between the two presidents was further confirmed by statements which Somaliland and Kenyan Foreign Ministries posted on their Twitter accounts following the arrival of the President at Jomo Kenyatta Airport.
“The President of the Republic of Somaliland H.E Muse Bihi Abd arrived in Nairobi this afternoon. The president of the Republic of Somaliland will hold talks with his Kenya counterpart H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta,” the Somaliland MFA said.
“President of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi arrived in the Country this afternoon. He was received by CS Munya and CAS Hon. Ababu Namwamba. H.E Musa Abdi will hold talks Monday with H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta on mutual interests,” the Kenyan Foreign Ministry posted.
A Kenyan foreign ministry on the visit stated that even though there was no Kenyan presence in Somaliland at present, Kenya was keen to see relations with this nation blossom on many fronts.
The statement added that ‘Somaliland is an important partner in the Horn of Africa region in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab’.
NTV reported that the two countries will discuss deep relations between the two countries at the highest level.
‘‘The official state meeting will address security, economic and social interaction between the two countries,” NTV said.
President Bihi’s visit comes at a time relations between Kenya and Somali has gone from bad to worse in recent weeks.
Both countries have recalled their Heads of Mission in each other’s capitals home for ‘consultations’ – another term for ‘until further notice’ depending on how the wind blows in the near future.
The Republic of Somaliland maintains a Liaison office in the Kenyan capital and, likewise, Kenya has named a Head of Mission for a projected Hargeisa which is yet to open. The Kenyan foreign ministry named Phillip Githiora to head its mission to Somaliland in April 2019.
President Bihi’s visit to Kenya is the second from a Somaliland head of state to the East African nation. President Dahir Rayale made a similar visit to Kenya in 2006.
Somaliland hosts a 10 000-strong Kenyan community – the largest, non-military Kenyan community in the region.
— Kenya Liaison (@kenya_Liaison) December 13, 2020
Kenya and Somaliland share unmarred historical and cultural ties. Somaliland gained independence from Great Britain in 1960, Kenya in 1963.
Historically, people who originally hailed from Somaliland contributed to the independence struggle of the Kenyan people. Mohamed Hassan Jebeli – businessman and a close associate and financier of the Mau Mau leaders and their movement, including the incumbent President’s own father, Jomo Kenyatta.
Whether either of the two countries would cash in on a regional environment ripe for revitalized though reshuffled relations between and among member countries is a matter to be seen.
Ethiopia-Somaliland relations has turned somewhat cooled since Abiy Ahmed came to office in 2017 turning a warm mutually beneficial, burgeoning relationship between the two countries into somewhat of a dud.
The Ethiopian PM undiplomatically flaunted the Somaliland goodwill by openly and repeatedly slapping Somaliland on the face with a defunct, Somalia unity card. He even tried to bring Somalia President, Farmajo, to Hargeisa earlier in the year which showed how little the PM was versed in regional history.
Somalia-Kenya relations had been on the rocks and heading towards more troubled waters since a seemingly irreparable maritime boundaries row between them came to the surface in 2014.
With the President in this visit are the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Pro. Yassin Haj Mohamoud, Interior, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, Investment Promotion, Mohamed Ahmed Awad, Environment, Shukri Haj Bandare and Health, Omar Ali Abdullahi.
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