Somali President 'Farmaajo' breaks tradition and heads to Kenya for his first State visit

Between the sidelines of the meeting Kenya and Somalia hope to resolve a number of issues relating to trade and Security.

 

Somalia and Ethiopia have for a long time enjoyed cordial relationship and the later has even been accused at times of interfering with the internal affairs of the war torn Nation.

After being sworn to office, 'Farmaajo' as he is commonly known disregarded tradition and instead flew to Saudi Arabia on unofficial visit to talk with the Arab Nation on how they can assist Somali tackle the ongoing drought, contrary to his predecessors who have always reserved their first visit to Ethiopia.

Kenya State House Spokesperson, Manoah Esipisu announced on Sunday ‘Farmaajo’ is expected in the country on Thursday ahead of a special summit on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

He added Kenya and Somalia enjoy warm and cordial relations founded on trust, cooperation and mutual interests.

“We share common heritage and our views converge on many regional and international issues,” he said.

Adding: “Our common endeavor for durable peace, viable stability and sustainable development for both our peoples and region continue to underline the necessity for our mutual cooperation.”

First on the Agenda is the thorny issue of Al Shabaab militia which is responsible for hundreds of deaths in Somalia and Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday made a surprise visit to Somalia where he met with the Kenyan troops serving under the African Union Mission at Dhobley Military in Somalia to boost their morale.

The two heads of state will hold talks on further cooperation as Somali struggles to form a national army.

Second on the agenda is the multi billion Miraa (Khat) trade which following Britain and Netherland’s ban in 2015, Somali is the only viable market left for Kenya.

Somali has in recent time threatened to ban miraa and even imposed a temporary ban last year. Miraa is normally used as a bargaining tool by Somali whenever there is a scuffle with Kenya.

Thirdly the two countries hopes to also booster more foreign relations, Kenya for instance halted construction of an embassy in Mogadishu due to the insecurity challenge in Somalia but plans to complete it before the end of the year.

Territorial dispute is also likely to feature on their talks especially after Kenya lost the first round in the border dispute between Somalia and Kenya over Indian Ocean territory.

Other issues which President Kenyatta will discuss with his guest include the need for Kenya and Somalia to approach the forthcoming 3rd London Conference on Somalia slated for May 11 with a coordinated position as a region to ensure the outcomes of the meeting serve the interests of the people of Somalia.

President Kenyatta is expected to impress on the need to reinvigorate efforts and to scale up collaboration in mutual areas of interest identified during the inaugural session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation that was held in Nairobi in July 2015.

“President Kenyatta looks forward to robust multi-sectoral bilateral engagements and enhancing the existing partnerships in order to leverage on the existing opportunities therein,” said State House Spokesperson.

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