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East Africa

Somalia reviving ties with Kenya after nearly six months

PUBLISHED: Thu, 06 May 2021 16:03:41 GMT

Abdi Sheikh

Reuters

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup Final football match between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on December 8, 2019. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

MOGADISHU, May 6 (Reuters) – Somalia said on Thursday it was restoring diplomatic ties with neighbouring Kenya after it severed relations in December, accusing Nairobi of meddling in politics.

Relations between the countries have also been tense over the ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off the coast of Jubbaland, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states.

“Now diplomatic relations are restored,” Abdirahman Yusuf, deputy information minister, told a news conference in Mogadishu, saying Qatar had helped in the process.

There was no immediate comment from the Kenyan government, though State House in Nairobi tweeted on Thursday afternoon that President Uhuru Kenyatta met with Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar and “received a special message from him.”

In November, Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own from Nairobi after accusing Kenya of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland.

In February 2019, Kenya recalled its ambassador after Mogadishu decided to auction oil and gas exploration blocks at the centre of their maritime rights dispute. The two countries had revived ties in November the same year.

The two are at present before the World Court to adjudicate the maritime boundary dispute.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Additional reporting by George Obulutsa; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Bernadette Baum)


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