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Somali envoy walks out of Uhuru Kenyatta's diplomacy meeting

Tuesday June 14, 2022

Nairobi (HOL) - ‎Somalia's Ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Ahmed Nur 'Tarzan,' walked out of a meeting organized by the Kenyan government for foreign ambassadors after Somaliland officials were invited.

‎According to sources, Tarzan stormed out of the annual presidential address to the diplomatic corps at State House, which was chaired by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, after he learned that the Somaliland ambassador was invited to participate in the same capacity as Somaliland.

After conferring with Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials in Mogadishu, Tarzan was reportedly given the green light to walk out of the summit after Kenya provided Somaliland with equal privileges of a sovereign state.

Kenyan officials reportedly placed Somalia and Somaliland's flags together in the venue.

Relations between Somalia and Kenya have been frosty in recent years. Officials in Mogadishu have accused Kenya of interfering in Somalia's relations in Jubaland and have suspended the sale of Kenyan khaat in Somali markets as retaliation. In addition, the ICJ ruled largely in Somalia's favour last year over a contentious but potentially lucrative off-shore triangle of hydrocarbons. Kenya has vowed to ignore the ruling.

Politically, Kenya continued to inflame tensions; it appointed four liaison officers to the capital of Somaliland's self-proclaimed republic in September 2021, which resulted from a meeting between Kenyan officials and Somaliland President Muse Bihi in July 2020. The move was not well-received by Somalia, which expelled Kenya's ambassador and recalled its own ambassador from Kenya.

Relations were restored in May 2021 following Qatar-mediated diplomatic talks

A vocal segment of the Kenyan parliament has long pushed to recognize Somaliland as an independent state.

Somalia's recently elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud vowed a 'reset' with regional countries. Uhuru Kenyatta was one of President Mohamud's guests during his inauguration last week.

Somalia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written to its Kenyan counterpart demanding "a full explanation of the violation of our sovereignty." 

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia unilaterally following the collapse of the central government in Mogadishu in 1991. Somaliland is recognized internationally as part of Somalia's territory.


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