Somalia’s attempts to have Kenya reprimanded at the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), fell through after leaders at the Summit largely disagreed with the severance of diplomatic ties.
Instead, the heads of state and government gathered in Djibouti City on Sunday asked Somalia to focus on the electoral calendar as well as reconciliation and security programmes in the country.
Somalia had demanded that independent team from IGAD be sent on the common border of the two countries, where Somalia has alleged Kenya is aiding Somali militia, a charge Nairobi denies.
Somalia ON December 14 cut diplomatic relations with Kenya, accusing it of meddling in politics. It followed a two-day visit to Kenya by Muse Bihi Abdi, president of Somaliland that ended on Monday.
The 38th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD was meant to discuss regional security challenges, the humanitarian situation in Tigray as well as the rising Covid-19 infections in the region, which had so far reached 290,000 with more than 5300 deaths. But the meeting was preceded with a series of protests from Somalia, including cutting ties with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of interference in Mogadishu affairs.
Mogadishu had also written to IGAD Chairman, Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, seeking to have the issue placed on agenda.
The official communique issued on Monday morning did not indicate the tiff among issues discussed. Instead, they discussed Somalia’s own political calendar and political reconciliation programmes, asking that the processes in Somalia must be “Somali-led and Somali-owned” based on the September 17 Agreement between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States’ leaders.
Former Somaliland minister of public work Ali Hassan Mohamed has praised the outcome of The 38th Extraordinary Assembly of IGAD Heads of State and described the Somalia government fails to push through Kenya dispute at the Igad meeting.
“Some people believe that the IGAD Extraordinary Summit, which opened in Djibouti on December 20, 2020, was held at the request of Somalia regarding a lawsuit filed by Somalia against Kenya, but the outcome of the meeting is reflected in the communiqué.,” said Al Hassan Mohamed aka “Mareehan” Former Somaliland minister of public work
“The communiqué did not include a single word on the Kenya-Somalia conflict but instead focused on the political crisis in Somalia, and also the summit was targeted on the ongoing peace and security processes in Sudan, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia,” Ali said
At the meeting in Djibouti, Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Djibouti’s Ismael Guelleh and Somalia’s Mohamed Farmaajo gathered on the sidelines to discuss the issue.
They agreed that each country’s territorial integrity is paramount but disagreed with Somalia’s aggressive decision to sever diplomatic ties, instead urging parties to re-engage.
“It was also significant that Farmajo has described Somaliland President’s visit to Kenya “Interference of Somalia” and that the communiqué emphasized the importance of continuing dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia. That was another message.”Ali added
They warned the lack of cooperation between the two leaders could encourage Shabaabs to thrive and effectively ruin the electoral programme, according to sources at IGAD.
The dispute could undermine cooperation in the fight against the Islamist group al Shabaab in Somalia, where Kenya provides 3,600 troops to an African Union peacekeeping force.