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Somalia boycotts UN-Habitat meet over row with Kenya

Somalia’s President, Mohammed Farmajo (left) with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
| Photo: HiviSasa |

There will be no representatives from Somalia on Monday’s meeting at the UN – Habitat in Nairobi – which will be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Somalia government has boycotted the meeting and any other future meetings that will be held in Nairobi.

“Due to the recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenya, the ministry informs all its partners that representative from the ministry will NOT attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars, and trainings to be held in Nairobi,” the director general in Somalia’s ministry of health wrote.

The letter, which is addressed to UN agencies, donors and international partners, exposed the tense environment between Kenya and Somalia.

“The ministry highly encourages those events to be held inside the country or be moved to alternative countries for ease of travel for ministry representatives,” reads the letter in part.

Last week, three senior Somalia government officials were denied from entering the country due to lack of visas, despite having diplomatic visas.

However, Foreign Affairs Principle Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau denied the claims that it was a diplomatic row,

“It’s an immigration incidence, it’s not a diplomatic row and sometimes for reasons that have to do with the work of immigration or for security reasons, or for whatever other reasons you can be denied a visa,” Ambassador Macharia told NTV.

The denial of visas to the officials might have caused tensions between the two countries who had agreed to make peace after a two months maritime-border standoff.

Denials of visas for these officials seemingly stirred up tensions after officials from the two countries had agreed to normalize relations following two months of a standoff over the maritime borders of the two countries. The dispute is before the International Court of Justice which will make a ruling in September.

The recent scuffle between the two countries is over the suspension of direct flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu. Planes coming to Nairobi from Mogadishu will have to stop at Wajir for a security check.

The Somalia government has said that the policy will negatively impact the transit of the goods and passengers between the two countries.

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