Federal Somalia Bans ‘Leaders’ From Attending Nairobi Functions As Relations Turn ‘Ugly’

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Somalia has asked its leaders and representatives not to attend a United Nations (UN) Function which President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to open, Kenyan media reported on Sunday. However, Hiiran Online has learned that the minister of Public Works will attend the UN-Habitat meeting in Nairobi.

In a letter addressed to UN agencies, donors and International partners, the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr Abdullahi Hashi, said that Somali officials will never visit Kenya on any official meetings between the two countries.

“The Ministry informs all its partners that representative from the ministry will not attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars and training to be held in Nairobi,” an excerpt of the letter seen by Hiiran Online read in part. The letter also asked various international partners not to work in Kenya but instead seek other countries for future meetings.

This comes just a week after Kenya banned direct flights from Mogadishu to Nairobi. In addition, during the same period Kenya detained top Somali government officials at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“Due to the recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenya. The Ministry highly encourages those events to be held inside the country or be moved to alternative countries for ease of travel to ministry representatives,” the letter further stated.

What remains unclear is whether the letter was a sign of a diplomatic hitch between the two countries or just sideshows and muscle weighing contests. However, from all media analysis and interviews carried out by Hiiraan Online, the Somali public remain angry and inconvenienced by Kenya’s recent actions against Somalia. Most of them supported the Federal Government position not to participate in meetings in Kenya until direct flights were returned and the visa confusion is resolved.

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