At the invitation of His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Muse Bihi Abdi, President of Somaliland made an official visit to Kenya from 13th to 14th December, 2020.The Presidents re-affirmed their unwavering commitment to deepen the cordial bilateral relations between Kenya and Somaliland.
They noted with deep satisfaction that the cooperation between Kenya and Somaliland lay on a foundation of shared values and principles aimed at fostering sustainable peace, stability, sustained growth, and shared prosperity.
In this regard, they committed to strengthen and deepen the cooperation between Kenya and Somaliland.
The Presidents affirmed that leaders have a responsibility to secure peace and stability in the region, to enable the people to pursue social economic development and stability.
As such, the two leaders acknowledged Somaliland has over the years remained peaceful and stable, owing to commitment to democratic ideals and the establishment of strong governance institutions.
Kenya and Somaliland would continue to work together to promote peace and stability, and in pursuit of shared prosperity.
During their discussions, the leaders focused their attention on expansion of bilateral trade, enhancing collaboration in air transport including enabling direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa, as well as cooperating in agriculture, livestock development, education, energy and cooperation between the ports of Mombasa and Berbera.
The Presidents directed their respective senior officials to work together to develop a general cooperation framework agreement to:
i) Deepen existing cordial people-to-people relations;
ii) Promote and diversify trade and investments;
iii) Enhance security cooperation and information sharing to combat terrorism, cybercrimes and organized transnational crimes;
iv) Enhance cooperation in various sectors including agriculture, livestock development, education, energy and transport; and,
v) Promote Training and capacity building.
To effect the commitments made, the two leaders agreed to the following timelines for implementation of a number of activities:
i. Kenya to open its Consulate in Hargeisa by end of March 2021. Somaliland would also upgrade its Liaison Office in Nairobi within the same timeframe.
ii. Kenya Airways and other Kenyan airlines to commence direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa by end of March, 2021.
iii. Senior officials on a pre-determined list and travelling to Kenya on Somaliland travel documents to apply for e-visa and receive visa on arrival by end of March, 2021;
iv. Senior Officials from Kenya and Somaliland to agree on details and timelines for enhancing technical cooperation, including implementation of exchange programmes involving students, agricultural officers, doctors, nurses and other professionals.
The two leaders pledged to continue to work together in safeguarding peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region.
They noted that Al-Shabaab continues to pose significant threat to the region. In this regard, they called for a robust international engagement and support for efforts to combat terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
The two leaders acknowledged Kenya’s commitment to a peaceful, stable, strong and prosperous Somalia, in which the voices of all the people of Somalia have the opportunity to express their sovereign will.
At the conclusion of the Official Visit, His Excellency President Muse Bihi Abdi, expressed gratitude to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta and the people of Kenya, for the progress made in deepening bilateral relations during the visit, as well as the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.
His Excellency President Kenyatta wished His Excellency President Muse Bihi Abdi good health and long life; and, peace and stability to the people of Somaliland.
STATE HOUSE, NAIROBI.
This article first appeared in the Somaliland Chronicle and is republished with permission