Kenya and Somalia have agreed to normalise bilateral relations starting with the restoration of the issuance of travel visas on arrival arrangement for citizens of the two nations.
The restoration of the visa on arrival arrangement is aimed at enhancing free and unhindered movement of people and commerce between Kenya and Somalia.
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The agreement was reached during a meeting between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of the Federal Republic of Somalia on the sidelines of the just concluded Nairobi ICPD25 summit.
During the meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed the invaluable relations that exist between Kenya and Somalia and agreed to explore avenues of strengthening bilateral and diplomatic ties between Nairobi and Mogadishu for the benefit of the citizens of the two nations.
President Mohamed conveyed his gratitude to President Kenyatta for the role Kenya continues to play in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and for the hospitality the country continues to accord Somali refugees.
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The two countries have been on a fall-out on their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.
The Somali leader expressed confidence that the maritime boundary dispute between his country and Kenya that is currently before the International Court of Justice in The Hague “will be resolved in a mutually acceptable manner.”
The case is with regard to the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Kenya and Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Somalia instituted proceedings against Kenya on 28 August 2014.
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In its case, Somalia claims that the maritime boundary between the two countries should be an equidistant line and that Kenya’s oil exploration activities in the disputed area are unlawful.
On the other hand, Kenya’s case is that, the maritime boundary with Somalia is along a parallel of latitude as first claimed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979.
This maritime boundary was revised for greater accuracy in a second Presidential Proclamation in 2005.
In 2009, in its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, Kenya extended its claim beyond 200 nautical miles to the outer limits of its continental shelf.
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Somalia has for over 35 years recognized and respected the maritime boundary between the two countries along a parallel of latitude.
It was only in 2014, shortly before filing its case with the Court, that Somalia claimed a maritime boundary along an equidistance line, ignoring the over 35 years practice of recognizing and respecting the maritime boundary along a parallel of latitude.
Somalia admits these facts but does not recognize their legal effect.
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