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Kenya and Somalia resume diplomatic relations

Back to talk, but dispute on sea border ongoing

10-05-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo

After four months since the blackout of diplomatic relations between the two governments, Kenya and Somalia have resumed talks, thanks in part to the mediation of Sheikh Al-Thani of Qatar.
This was announced by the Somali government, which in November last year had expelled Kenya's ambassador in Mogadishu and recalled its own, accusing Nairobi of interfering in domestic politics.
After President Farmajo's reappointment and self-extension of term, with a more solid situation (always with the uncertainties of the case) the two countries are now back talking about the gas fields that lie off the Somali coast, in a territory that has been the scene of a dispute over its borders for years.
In February 2019, Kenya had protested by recalling its ambassador after Mogadishu decided to auction oil and gas exploration blocks at the centre of their maritime rights dispute.
The disputes are still ongoing and have reached the International Court of Justice in The Hague, but Kenya has decided not to participate in the hearings, preferring to rely on the African Union.
Now, however, the rapprochement of Mogadishu, favoured by Qatar, has convinced Kenyatta and his people to take a small step backwards to restore relations with the troubled neighbouring country.
The Kenyan government thanked the international community as well as Doha for their efforts to improve diplomatic relations between the two countries, promising to open new round tables on cooperation, security and education, in addition to trade relations.
This is also good news for the difficult situation in the borderlands, regardless of how and when the dispute over territorial waters, which is of great interest to Kenya, will end, not only because of the oil fields but also because of the activity of the new port of Lamu.

TAGS: kenya somaliadiplomazia kenya

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