Somalia Ambassador to Kenya Mohamud Ahmed Nur on Tuesday walked out of a meeting hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi over the presence of Somaliland’s representative.
The event brought together foreign diplomats based in Nairobi and Kenyan diplomats abroad who are in Kenya for their 18th annual conference in what was widely seen as bidding him goodbye ahead of the August 9 General Election.
However, Ambassador Nur is said to have left in a huff after he spotted Somaliland’s representative with the breakaway region’s flag at the venue. Reached for comment, the envoy said he didn’t want to discuss the matter as he was annoyed.
In a rejoinder, Somaliland Foreign ministry said it is a sovereign, independent and democratic country that aspires to live in peace and tranquility with it neighboring countries.
“The Republic of Somaliland is disappointed about the actions taken by the Ambassador of Somalia, who abruptly walked out of a diplomatic luncheon … this clearly demonstrates the hatred and long-term enmity of Somalia towards the Republic of Somaliland and its people,” Somaliland said in a statement.
At the meeting, President Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s commitment to “being a friendly country to all and an enemy to none” by seeking only to develop bonds of friendship and collaboration with all partners across the globe.
Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo said President Kenyatta’s leadership has repositioned Kenya’s foreign policy and stature at a very high level in the world today.
“I want us to say first and foremost that during the last 10 years His Excellency the President has led from the front, and he has led with courage and tenacity. More than this, he has chosen the high road, the unbeaten path. And as a consequence, our country has been able, in a very short time, to acquire positions of influence in our globe. Never before has Kenya held so much influence at a particular time since its history,” CS Omamo said.
It is, however, not the first time Somalia is protesting the relations between Kenya and Somaliland. In December 2020, Somalia cut ties with Kenya after Somaliland’s leader Muse Bihi visited Nairobi and held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Announcing the severance of the ties on state-run SNTV, Somalia Minister of Information Osman Dubbe accused Kenya of constant violation of Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a tweet that the Foreign Affairs deleted, Somalia said Bihi’s visit must be treated with all contempt it deserved.
“Somaliland is the federal Member State of Somalia. It, therefore, has no legitimacy to directly deal with Kenya especially now that we have severed our diplomatic ties. Muse Bihi’s visit to Nairobi undermines the sovereignty of Somalia and must be treated with the contempt it deserves,” the tweet said.
In rejoinder, Somaliland said as an independent country, it has a right to make a decision to strengthen its mutual relationship with Kenya, which is also an independent.
“The irrelevant statement from the failed administration of Somalia shows nothing but only failure and irresponsibility. The Republic of Somaliland and The Republic of Kenya are two independent countries which has (sic) the right decision to strengthen their mutual relationship, ” the tweet said.
In January 2022, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo said, Nairobi considers Somalia one entity with federal regions under autonomous administrations.
“Somaliland has not submitted to us any application to recognise them as a separate entity from Somalia. And so for us, we will deal with Somalia again as a friendly neighbour, accepting that they have federal units and we will engage those federal units in a way that sustains the unity of Somalia and friendship with Kenya,” Omamo said during the launch of a report on the Foreign ministry’s work since 2020.
Somaliland has been lobbying for international recognition.
Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga, one of the two frontrunners in the August General Election has publicly endorsed Somaliland’s bid, further asking the African Union and the United Nations to recognize its divorce from Somalia.
“AU needs to wake up to the reality that it is not going to be possible again to bring these two countries together, and recognize them as two separate countries,” Raila said during Bihi’s visit, adding that he does not regret making the same remarks earlier while in the UK.
“I have talked in the UN, and I have talked in the London Chatham house. I said, and I have no regret and I will say it again that Somaliland is a reality, that the world has got to live with,” Raila said