Somalia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Kenya, Citing Interference

Somalia’s government cut diplomatic ties with neighboring Kenya, citing interference in its internal affairs.

The announcement was made a day after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said he’s holding talks with the leader of a breakaway region of northern Somalia that’s lobbying for international recognition. The rift in relations comes as the two nations prepare to square-off at an international tribunal in March over a maritime-border dispute.

Kenyan President Meets Leader of Breakaway Somali Region

Somalia “has decided to cut diplomatic relations with Kenya,” Information Minister Osman Abukar Dube said on state-run SNTV. The government ordered Kenyan diplomats to leave the Somali capital, Mogadishu, within seven days.

Kenya’s government reciprocated by asking Somali diplomats to leave Nairobi, Dube said.

Diplomatic relations between the two eastern African nations soured last year after Kenya accused Somalia of auctioning four offshore oil blocks in a disputed offshore area, an allegation Somalia denied. In October 2019, Somalia summoned Kenya’s ambassador after a Kenyan-registered aircraft landed without permission in Jubaland -- a region of Somalia that’s seeking greater autonomy.

Kenya invaded Somalia in 2011, after a spate of kidnappings by al-Qaeda-linked militants who had originated in Somalia. The Kenyan forces later joined a multinational African Union force that sought to end the insurgency.

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