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Somalia’s PM set for a maiden trip to Kenya after diplomatic ties restored

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble is set for a maiden trip to Kenya, Somalitopnews has established, over three months after he was given an official invitation by President Uhuru Kenyatta, during their trip in Djibouti.

In Djibouti, the two leaders were attending the official inauguration of Omar Ismail Guelleh, who is now serving his fifth term. Uhuru extended an invitation to Roble, but the Somali PM has been postponing the trip due to political uncertainty in the country.

Around June this year, there were reports that Roble was planning to jet to Kenya but the plans did not materialize also due to a number of prevailing circumstances. He did not give any reasons for the unprecedented delay of the trip.

But exclusive reports within the confines of the Somali government now intimate that the PM will visit Nairobi any time for today, with reports indicating that the two countries have finally reached an agreement over the export of Khat commonly know as Miraa.

Also, the two countries have reportedly agreed on the traveling plans especially pertaining to air transport, which has been having issues in recent months. Kenya had suspended flights to Somalia in what was closely linked to the banning of Khat in Somalia.

Advance teams of the PM are already in Nairobi to prepare for the state visit, sources said. There is no definite time of day when he’s set to travel to Nairobi but the presence of his team in the East Africa nation is an indication that it’s going to happen soon.

Kenya has been trying to mediate the Khat ban in Somalia but the Horn of Africa nation had not shown any indication of easing the sanctions. Somalia is said to have structured a deal with Ethiopia on the importation of Khat, further throwing Kenya off balance.

Equally, in retaliation, Kenya has been using flight restrictions as a reprisal to tame Somalia, a move that affected millions of innocent travelers. Qatar mediated tensions between the two countries which has escalated to new levels.

Further, Roble’s trip comes at the time Kenya and Somalia are battling at the International Court of Justice [ICJ] over the controversial Indian Ocean maritime border. There have been reports that Kenya wants the case withdrawn in favour of dialogue, something which Somalia is against.

Yet again, Roble could also come with solutions on the presence of Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] troops in Somalia, which have been accused of human rights violations. Kenya has often maintained that the forces are disinterested in local politics.

By MM

Abdi Aziz Hassan Ibrahim is , a somali veteran journalist based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Twitter @mareegonline
Email: news@mareeg.com