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Tuesday, December 22, 2020 – Somalia’s attempts to have Kenya reprimanded at the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), failed spectacularly after leaders at the Summit disagreed with Mohammed Farmaajo for cutting ties with Kenya.

Instead, the Heads of State and government gathered in Djibouti City asked Somalia to focus on the electoral calendar as well as reconciliation and security programmes in the country.

Somalia had demanded that an independent team from IGAD be sent on the common border of the two countries, where Somalia has alleged Kenya is aiding Somali militia, a charge Nairobi denies.

The 38th Extraordinary Summit of Igad was meant to discuss regional security challenges, the humanitarian situation in Tigray as well as the rising Covid-19 infections in the region, which had so far reached 290,000 with more than 5300 deaths.

But the meeting was preceded by a series of protests from Somalia, including cutting ties with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of interference in Mogadishu affairs.

Mogadishu had also written to IGAD’s Chairman, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, seeking to have the issue placed on the agenda.

At the meeting in Djibouti, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Djibouti’s Ismael Guelleh and Somalia’s Mohamed Farmaajo gathered on the sidelines to discuss the issue.

They agreed that each country’s territorial integrity is paramount but disagreed with Somalia’s aggressive decision to sever diplomatic ties, instead urging parties to re-engage.

They warned the lack of cooperation between the two leaders could encourage Al-Shabaab to thrive and effectively ruin the electoral programme.

The matter was left out of the formal agenda just as the one between Sudan and Ethiopia’s border clashes was also left to bilateral talks.

At the start of the formal session, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat warned the antagonism between the two countries will jeopardise regional security.

I’m convinced that the long-standing and strong links…can overcome the current challenges.

Instead, Mahamat said Somalia and Kenya should resolve their differences through dialogue, to ensure the regional cooperation against Al-Shabaab and other challenges are not disrupted.

But even with that, Somalia Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirazak told local media the relations with Kenya will remain severed.

The Kenyan DAILY POST

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