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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,13TH DEC,2020-President of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi arrived in the country on Sunday ahead of talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two leaders will hold talks on Monday on matters of mutual interests.
The visit comes amid rising diplomatic tensions between Kenya and Somalia.
President Musa was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba.
Kenya’s Foreign Office reiterated the importance of Somaliland, a semi-autonomous state bordering Somalia, as a key partner in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa region.
“This is the second visit by a Somaliland leader following a similar one by President Kahin Riyale Kahin in 2006. Somaliland is an important partner in the Horn of Africa region in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab,” MFA said.
While Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland, President Abdi’s visit is seen as a strategy to secure a partnership with the semi-autonomous State political and economic stability in the region.
“Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland but takes cognizance of the political and economic stability of the region and is keen to enhance and broaden trade in goods and services, as well as, investment as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation with the region,” the foreign ministry said.
Somalialand is a self-declared de-facto state which is not recognized internationally but identified as part of Somalia.
Kenya has recently had a tense relationship with Somalia after the latter accused Nairobi of meddling with her affairs, an allegation denied by the Kenyan government.
“It is incumbent upon all political actors in Somalia to stay true to their political commitments and avoid distracting actions, but rather engage constructively to ensure timely implementation of the election calendar which will mark another critical phase in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia,” the Foreign Office stated in reference to the recent tiff.
This was preceded by a move by the Somalia government ordering Kenya’s envoy General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo to leave the country and recalling its Ambassador to Kenya Mahamed Ahmed Nuur Tarzan from Nairobi.
Further, the Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo-regime in Mogadisgu went ahead and suspended the visa-on-arrival plan for Kenyans which will mean Kenyans have to apply for the visas at the embassy in Nairobi.
Somalia’s Immigration and Naturalization Directorate, said the move was “in line with the federal government’s policy of ensuring security, improving migration management and reducing the risks of COVID-19 infections.”