Mogadishu severed diplomatic ties with Nairobi in December 2020 over what is described as violations of Somali sovereignty and interference in internal affairs.
Somalia announced the resumption of diplomatic ties with Kenya following mediation efforts by Qatar, a Somali official said on Thursday.
“Now diplomatic relations are restored,” Abdirahman Yusuf, deputy information minister, told a news conference in Mogadishu, noting Qatar’s role in the process.
On Thursday, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani welcomed the decision to restore relations.
“I congratulate President Farmaajo and President Kenyatta for their wise decision and courage to restore the diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya. I wish the two neighbouring countries and their people safety and stability,” said Sheikh Tamim, reiterating Qatar’s continuous support towards peace.
أتقدم بالتهنئة إلى كل من فخامة الرئيس فرماجو وفخامة الرئيس كينياتا على قرارهما الحكيم والشجاع بإعادة العلاقات الدبلوماسية بين الصومال وكينيا. تمنياتنا الخالصة للبلدين الجارين وشعبيهما بالأمن والاستقرار، كما أؤكد أن دولة قطر ستبقى دائما ساعية في سبيل الخير وصانعة للسلام.
— تميم بن حمد (@TamimBinHamad) May 6, 2021
Kenya’s State House also tweeted that President Uhuru Kenyatta “received a special message” from Sheikh Tamim that was delivered by the special envoy of Qatar’s foreign minister.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s foreign ministry in a statement said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs looks forward to further normalisation of relations by the Somali authorities as well as trade, communication, transportation, people-to-people relations and cultural exchanges”.
1/2 President Uhuru Kenyatta today at State House, Nairobi, received a special message from the Amir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. pic.twitter.com/eRakOFGD84
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) May 6, 2021
Somalia cut its diplomatic ties with Kenya in December 2020 over what it described as interference in its sovereignty as well as internal affairs, ordering all of its diplomats in Nairobi to return. The two countries were also engaged in disputes over maritime borders.
Qatar has recently been engaging in several bilateral meetings with officials in Somalia.
Earlier this week, Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, Qatar’s special envoy from the office of the foreign minister, travelled to Somalia to meet with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, where the two discussed efforts to achieve national reconciliation, security and stability.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani also held a phone call with Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to discuss the latest developments in Somalia.
Qatar’s has been playing a major and crucial role in mediating between conflicting parties in the region and wider world.
Most recently, the Gulf state has brought together delegations from the Afghan Government and the Taliban to end decades of conflict between the two factions, hosting the Afghan peace process in Doha to ensure all sides engage in active dialogue.
In Syria, Doha has intensified efforts to resolve the crisis, playing a role in establishing a trilateral consultation process with Russia and Turkey.
Qatari officials are also involved in facilitating talks between the United States and Iran to revive the historic nuclear deal.