The diplomatic ties between the two neighboring countries of Kenya and Somalia has been a bone of contention for months now, this is after Somalia severed diplomatic ties with Kenya in dead of night of December 14, 2020 citing interference and violation of her sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In announcement, Somalia Minister of Information Osman Abukar Dubbe said that cutting ties with Kenya at around 1:40 am Mogadishu time on state-run SNTV, hours after President Uhuru held talks with break-away Somaliland President Muse Bihi at State House, Nairobi, he said that Mogadishu will withdraw all its diplomats from Kenya and has ordered Kenyan diplomats to leave the country within 7 days.
But while everything to restore the diplomacy sanity between the two warrying nations proved to be a difficult thing Qatar stepped in overseeing the mediation of the whole process, in an interview Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said that Qatar wants the continuation of normal relations between Somalia and Kenya and has encouraged both countries to strengthen their communication channels for better relations.
“Now the task to maintain good relations falls on the shoulders of two countries. Qatar will follow these developments in the relationships and if there is any need for Qatar to intervene, we will keep supporting these efforts. However, we hope that there will be no need for that,” said H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in an interview to Al Jazeera.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani acknowledged the two nations will to work together and restore their political will.
He said that the efforts, made by Qatar, focused on getting diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya restored which were disrupted due to tension in relations.
“The task of the Special Envoy of the State of Qatar was to carry the message of Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Presidents of Somalia and Kenya,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Deputy prime minister during the interview said that his message to the Somalia comes a time when there is a rising tension in Somalia as the nation prepares to go for an election.
However, he said, the message to the President of Kenya focused on supporting efforts in Somalia and backing and restoring relations with Somalia.
“We in Qatar enjoy friendship and brotherly relations with both the countries and we see that the deadlock in relations is neither in the interest of the two countries nor in the favor of the region, especially Somalia because of its political situation. There is also concern from the international community about these developments,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
According to him the positive steps were taken after the visit of the Qatar’s envoy and the assignment of the Somali Prime Minister to oversee the electoral process and security arrangements, that involved political parties and there was extensive dialogue between the envoy and the state governors, candidates and other political parties.
In response, Somalia on Thursday announced it has restored its diplomatic relations with Kenya, following talks between leaders of the neighboring countries mediated by Qatar.
During a press conference in Mogadishu, Somalia’s Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala made the announcement, saying that Somalia was resuming ties with Nairobi it severed last year.
Although Al-Adala did not provide details about how the talks were initiated between the leaders of the two countries, but he said they came about in large part through the efforts of Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“The federal government of Somalia, “in keeping with the interests of good neighborliness,” announces it has restored its friendly relations with Kenya,” said Al-Adala. “The agreement was based on the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.”
On Thursday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met with Qatar’s envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution Dr Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Kenya’s presidency said on Twitter.
The two countries are also feuding over a maritime boundary. The dispute is before the International Court of Justice.