Somalilandsun: The president of Somaliland has departed the capital Hargeisa ahead of a large government delegation for an official working visit to Kenya.
According to a statement released by the presidency spokesman the three days visit to Nairobi comes after an official invitation by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
This trip is aimed at strengthening and accelerating. “Diplomatic and co-operation between Somaliland and Kenya” read the statement adding that the presidential entourage includes Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Prof. Yassin Haji Mahmud Hiir (Faratoon), Internal Affairs Minister Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, Environment and Rural Development minister Ms. Shukri Haji Ismail Bandare, Health minister Omar Ali Abdilahi and Investment minster Mohamed Ahmed Awad.
The gist of this invite surfaced in August this year after administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta established a committee tasked with carefully study of the merits and demerits of recognizing Somaliland as a sovereign nation.
Though the two countries have been in close trade , education and skilled labour exchange for a long time Kenya is yet to establish a consulate in Hargeisa.
And while information is scanty on the nitty gritty of menu discussions the importance of this visit cannot be ignored for it is anticipated that the Kenyan authorities shall finally come clear on the promised consulate.
For Nairobi and Mogadishu which are embroiled in multiple disputes ranging from sea based boundaries and onshore oil, miraa trade and accusations that Nairobi is undermining the sovereignty of Somalia in Jubaland leading to expulsion of the Kenyan Envoy in Mogadishu among others, Nairobi needs Somaliland now more than ever .
Mogadishu accused Nairobi of meddling in its upcoming elections by putting pressure on the regional leader of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islaam Madobe, to walk back on a poll agreement brokered two months ago thence the latest spat.
This is the first official visit to Nairobi by President Muse Bihi Abdi since he took over as the leader of Somaliland in 2017,though he has been to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Guinea.
President Kenyatta who is in pursuit of direct diplomatic representation in Hargeisa says Somaliland relationship with Kenya is guided and based on deep and mutual respect.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland at the moment, though Hargeisa maintains a trade office in Nairobi And, the visit by President Bihi is expected to provide a platform through which the two countries can co-operate in maintaining security and initiating economic ties.
“Stronger relations between Kenya and Somaliland would bolster security, economic and social interactions between the two parties. Somaliland is an important partner in the Horn of Africa region in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab,” the ministry said on Sunday.
The initiative is expected to play a conduit role for investment outflow from Nairobi to Hargeisa, with Kenya Airways being lined up to make flights a possibility.
“Intensified cooperation is being sought in the banking and financial sector to accelerate more investment opportunities for both parties. Kenya Airways flights connecting Nairobi and Hargeisa to enhance trade and movement is carefully being explored,” the ministry noted