NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya and Somaliland have begun talks to firm up relations between the two neighbouring countries even as Somalia protests the new alliance.
In a Tuesday meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somaliland counterpart Muse Bihi Abdi discussions around the expansion of bilateral trade, enhancing cooperation in air transport as well as cooperating in agriculture, livestock development, education, energy, and cooperation between the ports of Mombasa and Berbera took center stage.
The two leaders directed their respective senior officials to work together to develop a framework agreement on security, trade and investments, and promotion of training and capacity building among other areas.
If the talks proceed well, Kenya Airways and other Kenyan airlines will commence direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa by end of March 2021.
Also, Kenya will open its Consulate in Hargeisa by end of March next year while Somaliland would also upgrade its Liason Office in Nairobi within the same timeframe
Other highlights in the bilateral talks also say senior officials on a pre-determined list and travelling to Kenya on Somaliland travel documents to apply for e-visa and receive a visa on arrival by end of March, 2021.
Senior officials from Kenya and Somaliland to agree on details and timelines for enhancing technical cooperation, including implementation of exchange programmes involving students, agricultural officers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals.
The two leaders acknowledged Kenya’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, strong, and prosperous Somalia, in which the voices of all the people of Somalia have the opportunity to express their sovereign will.
The developments come at a time when Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe announced cutting ties with Kenya at around 1:40 am Mogadishu time (Tuesday) 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.