MOGADISHU, 17 June 2021 – Somali authorities say they have normalized diplomatic relations with neighboring Kenya after the latter lifted a ban on flights to and from Mogadishu.

On  Wednesday, Somalia’s foreign minister called on Kenya to reopen its diplomatic mission in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Somali President Farmaajo (L) and His Kenyan Counterpart Kenyatta - Photo Somali Sundays

Somali President Farmaajo (L) and His Kenyan Counterpart Kenyatta – Photo Somali Sundays

Kenya Earlier Lifted Ban on Flights to and fro Somalia - Photo VoA News

Kenya Earlier Lifted Ban on Flights to and fro Somalia – Photo VoA News

Somalia will, in turn, reopen its embassy in Nairobi, the Somali foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The resumption of full diplomatic relations will be a positive start to the commencement of bilateral discussions between the two nations,” a statement from Somalia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation read in part.

Kenya on Monday announced that it will reopen its embassy in Somalia “as soon as possible”, responding favorably to a proposal from Somalia that the neighbors normalize diplomatic relations.

Last May 6, the Somali government announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Kenya.

Disputed Maritime Border - Source AFP

Disputed Maritime Border – Source AFP

At the time, Kenyan authorities simply indicated that they would “take note” of the initiative, adding that Nairobi “look[s] forward to the continued normalization of relations” by the Somali authorities.

A maritime border dispute between the two neighbors which is currently before the International Court of Justice has contributed to strain relations.

The two East African neighbors share a 700km border and work together on numerous fronts, including in the fight against terror, notably targeting militants of the al-Qaeda offshoot Al Shabaab.

Somalia has accused Kenya of meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia – a charge Kenya has denied.

Relations broke down completely after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Nairobi intended to open a consular service in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland.

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