Kenya and Somalia have agreed to ‘reset’ their relations as the two countries seek to chart a new path.
On Tuesday, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Mombasa, held bilateral talks with Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble coming barely days after Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Raychelle Omamo flew to Mogadishu to meet Mr Roble.
At the meeting, President Kenyatta said there was need to collaborate more in areas such as security, trade and investments by fully implementing the 2015 Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC).
“Prosperity of our people is key. Let us open a new page for our people by encouraging people-to-people interactions,” President Kenyatta said, welcoming restoration of the Kenya-Somalia diplomatic ties.
He called for an amicable resolution of the maritime border dispute.
Mr Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Ms Omamo and Agriculture CS Peter Munya, underscored the importance of stability in national and regional development, adding that economic growth is only possible in a peaceful environment.
“Without peace, there cannot be prosperity. Let us focus on providing services to our people. This can only be possible if we work together to root out terrorism. It’s time to improve trade and sort out immigration issues to allow increased people-to-people interactions,” the President said.
Mr Roble regretted the recent deterioration of relations between the two countries, saying this “was an error for the two nations to forsake the vision of unity.”
“We must acknowledge the historical relationship that exists between Kenya and Somalia. This friendship is based on good neighbourliness, cooperation, stability and mutual respect.”
Mr Roble said that the Mombasa meeting was the “beginning of a strong and deep relationship of our brotherhood.”
“Somalia will work hard to strengthen the Joint Commission for Cooperation in the interest of both peoples, their unity and stability and beyond the region and the continent,” Mr Roble said. “We will look for opportunities that lead to lasting stability and peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and genuine cooperation while avoiding anything that could harm that relationship.”