Kenya Strengthens Ties with Somali “Breakaway” State, Somaliland

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his Somaliland counterpart, Muse Bihi Abdi, have announced the strengthening of diplomatic ties between the two East African nations.

According to the agreement, Kenya will open a consulate in Somalia’s breakaway state of Somaliland by the end of March 2021 while the latter will upgrade the status of its liaison office in Nairobi to that of a consulate.

In a joint communique, the presidents also agreed that Kenya Airways would fly directly from capital Nairobi to Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa before the end of March.

The statement disclosed that the presidents are committed to deepening the cordial bilateral relations between Kenya and Somaliland aimed at fostering sustainable peace, stability, sustained growth, and shared prosperity.

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The Presidents also directed senior officials from both 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 deal appears to have angered Somalia, which earlier announced the severance of diplomatic ties with Kenya.

Somaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991, but its attempts so far to gain international recognition as an independent state have been unsuccessful with Somalia insisting that it is still part of its territory.

Somalia has recalled its diplomats in Kenya and given Kenyan diplomats seven days to leave.

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Kenyan government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said that a committee had been set up to to resolve differences with Somalia, as the two countries had a long-standing relationship that needed to be protected.

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