Kenyan diplomats in Somalia have been ordered to leave Mogadishu, the Somali capital, within seven days after Somalia severed ties with Kenya, citing interference in its affairs.
Somalia’s Minister of Information, Osman Dubbe, said on Tuesday that the decision to severe ties with Kenya was taken to protect the sovereignty of Somalia.
“The Somali government, on the basis of its sovereignty, international law and order, and fulfilling its constitutional duty to safeguard the unity, sovereignty and stability of the country, has decided to cut off diplomatic relations with the Government of Kenya,” a Somali government official said.
The Somali government’s move to eject the Kenyan government representatives from its soil comes weeks after Somalia recalled its ambassador from Kenya and ordered the Kenyan Ambassador to leave.
The President of the autonomous region of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, arrived in Nairobi on Sunday on an official visit.
Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, met Abdi on Monday for talks on a number of issues, including on the deepening of diplomatic relations.
State House Spokesperson, Kanze Dena, said the two leaders agreed to meet again on Tuesday to continue the discussions.
Somalia has been at loggerheads with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of politically backing the President of the Jubbaland region.
The Jubbaland regional President, Ahmed Islam Madobe, has previously insisted that the regional government would cooperate with the Somalia Federal Government only if the Federal forces hand over the control of territories seized from local administration.
However, Somalia President, Abdullahi Mohammed Farmajo, wants to appoint a President for the Jubbaland region.
Somalia escalated its problem with Kenya over a maritime dispute in the Indian Ocean, which is believed to hold large quantities of oil and gas reserves.
Kenya raised objection to Somalia’s claim over the territory which has been under the administration of the Kenyan government when Mogadishu purportedly went ahead to call for bids from foreign oil companies.
The two countries have also landed in court at The Hague, where Somalia wants a ruling on the drawing of a maritime border, which according to Kenyan officials, might block Kenya from accessing its own Ports.
The case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been postponed repeatedly and has been slowed by Kenya asking the court for more time to prepare its own legal team.
Kenyan officials argue that the challenge brought about by Somalia has the possible effect of denying Kenya access to the sea and might also affect other countries sharing the Indian Ocean coastline.
In its preliminary ruling, the ICJ rejected Kenya’s objection to the Court’s jurisdiction in the maritime case although the court said it had automatic jurisdiction over the case.
Kenyan and Somali government officials signed a Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) in 2009 on how to resolve the dispute.
However, successive administrations in Somalia have rejected the agreement.
The ICJ recognised the agreement between Kenya and Somalia over the disputed territory as legal and legitimate.
The Court, however, maintained, the MOU did not provide for a dispute resolution mechanism.
Kenya has been proposing the two countries should form a joint commission to manage the economic resources available at sea on behalf of the two countries.
The dispute has also been previously referred to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council. (PANA/NAN)