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Kenya denies recognising Somaliland as an independent state

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia 30 years ago.

Photo: Reuters/Feisal Omar

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Raychelle Omamo has revealed Somaliland is yet to submit any application to Kenya for recognition as an independent state, hence Nairobi is still treating Somaliland as part of a federal Somalia.

The remarks by Omamo come days after the UK Parliament debated a motion on whether to recognise Somaliland as an independent nation.

The motion that was tabled by Conservative MP Gavin Williamson was adjourned with the unanimous rule that is up to Somalia and Somaliland to decide their future.

Hours before the debate on Somaliland status, Somalia’s foreign minister Abdisaid Muse Ali held phone talks with the UK minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, discussing on bilateral ties based on mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Somalia.

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In September 2021, Kenya opened a liaison in Somaliland, a year after the two countries opened talks on collaboration.

In December 2020, Kenya and Somaliland reached a deal for direct Kenya Airways flights to Hargeisa in Somaliland from March 2021 after Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Muse Bihi of Somaliland met at State House in Nairobi.

The country of about 3.5 million people came into being after the collapse of the President Siad Barre regime in 1991 and leaders of the Somali National Movement (SNM) broke away from Somali and declared their independence.

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Somaliland and Somalia are completely two different but neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa who are also different in terms of history, geographical location as well as political situation.

The Republic of Somaliland is the former British protectorate and shares borders with Ethiopia to the south and west, Djibouti to the west, Somalia to the east and the Red Sea to the north.

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