Somalia: Kenya opens a liaison office in Somaliland

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Somaliland's Musa Bihi Abdi at State House, Nairobi. December 14, 2020. [PSCU]

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya has officially opened a liaison office in Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia that claims to have seceded from the rest of the Horn of Africa country over thirty years ago, in what could ignite bitter fallout between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

In a letter dated September 2, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a team of four officers to Somaliland's capital city of Hargeisa. The four will represent Kenya's interests in the breakaway region that has been fighting for international recognition since 1991 but failed.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya presents its compliments to the Liaison Office of Somaliland in Nairobi and has the honor to refer to our Note Verbale MFA/CONF/REL/130 Vol.1 (4) of August 16, 2021 (copy attached)," read the letter.

The head of the liaison office will be Benson Mwaliko and will be closely assisted by Charles Waichairi who will serve as a second counselor. Others in the office are Grace Musau and Ronald Nyakweba, who will serve as an administrative attache.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta held talks with Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi in Nairobi, with the two agreeing to have a close collaboration. The trip is said to have irked tensions in Mogadishu, with Somalia accusing Kenya of sabotage.

The relationship between Kenya and Somalia has remained fragile in recent months but last month, Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble visited the East Africa nation where he held talks with Kenyatta. The two nations pledged to work together.


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