LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday held talks with visiting Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Roble, with the two leaders agreeing to reset the Kenya-Somalia relations after months of strained ties.
Kenyatta, who led the Kenyan delegation at the bilateral talks in the coastal city of Mombasa, said there is a need to collaborate more in areas such as security, trade and investments by fully implementing the 2015 Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) in order to prosper.
“Prosperity of our people is key. Let us open a new page for our people by encouraging people-to-people and interactions,” he said in a statement released after the bilateral talks.
The bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries have been strained for several months after Mogadishu accused Nairobi of violating its sovereignty and interfering in the country’s political affairs.
Kenya, which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the formation of a transitional government of Somalia in 2004, has vehemently denied the allegations.
Kenyatta welcomed the restoration of the Kenya-Somalia diplomatic ties and called for an amicable resolution of the maritime border dispute. He emphasized the importance of stability in national and regional development, saying economic growth is only possible in a peaceful environment.
“Without peace, there cannot be prosperity. Let us focus on providing services to our people. This can only be possible if we work together to root out terrorism. It’s time to improve trade and sort out immigration issues to allow increased people-to-people interactions,” Kenyatta said.
On his part, Roble regretted the recent deterioration of relations between Kenya and Somalia, saying it was an error for the two nations to forsake the vision of unity held by the founding fathers of the two nations.
“Today is the beginning of a strong and deep relationship of our brotherhood. Somalia will work hard to strengthen the Joint Commission for Cooperation in the interest of both peoples, their unity and stability and beyond the region and the continent,” Roble said.
He said the two countries will look for opportunities that lead to lasting stability and peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and genuine cooperation while avoiding anything that could harm that relationship.
While acknowledging the historical relationship that exists between Kenya and Somalia, Roble said the friendship is based on “good neighborliness, cooperation, stability and mutual respect.”