Somali, Kenyan presidents hold phone talks * somalia, World News and Opinion.
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Somali, Kenyan presidents hold phone talks

Somalia President Abdullahi Farmajo called President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday night, March 4,  hours after Kenya warned the Somalia not to cause a provocation, as the tiff between the two neighbours escalated.

On Thursday, March 4, Garowe Online, an independent news outlet based in Somalia was first to report that Farmajo reached out to Kenyatta to resolve tensions between the two nations.

“We, therefore, urge the Federal Government of Somalia, to cease and desist from the unwarranted provocations and focus on managing its internal affairs for the welfare of her people; defeating terrorism; and advancing the cause of peace, security, and stability in the region,” a press statement from State House read.

Farmajo and Kenyatta discussed measures to be undertaken in resolving the stalemate and agreed to appoint respective committees to handle the matter diplomatically.

Another point of discussion was ways to jointly work on border security by sending committees from both nations to hold talks on strengthening trade ties between the nations.

Kenyatta and Farmajo also acknowledged that border security was a shared responsibility around a mutual interest and affirmed that security was interconnected. They also agreed that consultations should be held in case of misunderstandings.

Uhuru’s statement came in the wake of the March 2, attack that took place in Bulla Hawa in Somalia, which borders Kenya’s Mandera town. Somalia National Army (SNA) troops invaded Mandera and engaged in a fierce gunfight with Jubaland forces, leading to deaths and displacement of thousands of people.

After the attack, Mandera Governor Ali Roba directed his county staff to keep away from their offices as he could not guarantee their safety.

The report on Farmajo’s call came hours after the governor insisted that Jubaland forces were roaming free in Mandera County.

“Jubaland security forces are moving right inside Mandera town on Bulla Jamhuria Road, near the central chief camp, by the Huduma Center. This is a major threat to the security of Kenyans in Mandera. Our government must move with speed to mitigate this situation or risk more loss of lives,” Roba tweeted.

However, Kanze Dena, State House spokesperson, declined to comment on the issue, upon being contacted for comment.

Farmajo’s decision to approach Kenyatta is a change of tack from his previous decision to snub calls for talks with Kenya over another row, the Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute.

On September 26, 2019, in his inaugural United Nations speech, the Somalia president stated that the matter was in court and that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should be the ultimate arbiter because talks between the two countries had collapsed.

“We are very pleased that the court found that it had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute and that is scheduled for the final hearing for the merit case in November this year,” he stated.

Kenyatta had earlier on affirmed that he was open to other dispute resolution mechanisms, emphasising on dialogue.

“I have always believed and stood my ground that dialogue is the best and amicable way for finding the best and positive solution. This brings us together as opposed to a conflict that pushes away from each other,” Kenyatta suggested.


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