Kenya envoy meets Somali prime minister weeks after relations normalize
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Kenya’s relationship with Somalia could help improve regional integration, given the latest dramatic change of mind, after months of wrangling that even drew international actors including the Intergovernmental Authority and the development [IGAD].
Somalia had not once severed diplomatic ties with Kenya, which led to tensions within the Indian Ocean Belt, as the two countries exchanged tirades, sometimes even threatening military actions. one against the other for a multitude of challenges.
Kenya’s envoy to Somalia, Lieutenant-General on Wednesday [Rtd] Lucas Tumbo had closed-door talks with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, during which they discussed a host of issues relating to relations between the two countries.
According to Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, spokesperson for the prime minister’s office, Roble assured Tumbo that he would do everything possible to further stabilize relations between the two countries in the mutual interest.
“HE Prime Minister Mohamed Roble receives Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo who paid a courtesy visit for the first time since relations between the two neighboring countries were restored,” said Moalimuu.
“Prime Minister Roble assures Somalia’s commitment to continue improving bilateral relations with Kenya,” he added, without giving many details of the meeting which was said to have lasted several hours at Roble’s office in Villa Somalia.
The meeting comes weeks after Roble met President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya in Djibouti during the inauguration of Omar Ismail Guelleh. In Djibouti, Uhuru gave Roble a personal invitation and the prime minister was due to visit Nairobi last month, only to have his trip postponed.
It’s unclear why Roble postponed the trip, but he handled a number of issues in Somalia, including, but not limited to, the elections. The country is expected to hold a presidential election on October 10, 2021, according to the schedule that was released this week.
Kenya and Somalia are grappling with relations with the latter, accusing the former of internal interference, particularly in the Gedo region. However, an IGAD team cleared Kenya of any interference, with Qatar also stepping in to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries.
To the International Court of Justice [ICJ], Somalia sued Kenya for alleged encroachment on the Indian Ocean maritime border. The case will be decided by the courts in the coming months, but Kenya has always pushed for an amicable settlement.