President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi met on the sidelines of the inauguration of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Saturday ostensibly to discuss matters between the two nations.
Their meeting in the Djibouti capital was the first since President Bihi visited Kenya in December on invitation of President Uhuru which left Somalia angered.
Uhuru and Bihi maintained their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between them in December which is aimed at strengthening ties between two countries on issues of diplomacy, trade and security.
Key in the MOU signed in December was the opening of Kenyan Consul in Hargeisa and upgrading the Somaliland Liaison office in Nairobi to a consul.
The Kenya Airways is also expected to start direct flights to Somaliland capital, Hargeisa.
While the timelines set to implement some agreements have not been met, Somaliland ambassador to Kenya Bashe Omar is confident the meeting between the two leaders in Djibouti will help fast track implementation.
“Things are moving on well, not at the speed expected but I am confident every detail set out to be met is being looked into by representatives of both countries and we will soon be getting a clear picture once they conclude their specific tasks as per the MOU,” Bashe said.
The two leaders had set the deadline of March 30 for Kenya to open its Consulate in Hargeisa by end of March 2021.
Somaliland would also upgrade its Liaison Office in Nairobi within the same timeframe and Kenya Airways and other Kenyan airlines to commence direct flights between Nairobi and Hargeisa.
But due to the partial lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19 spread, it has not been easy for the task force to implement these agreements.
Meanwhile, the Somaliland ambassador to Kenya Bashe Omar said the invitation by his country’s leaders Muse Bihi to attend the inauguration of Djibouti President is a clear testimony the respect placed on Somaliland in the region.
“It shows the recognition of the role Somaliland plays in this region especially on issues of maritime security and trade,” Bashe said.
Bashe added: “The status quo in the Horn of Africa is no longer sustainable! Recent bilateral developments continues to bolster Somaliland importance in the Horn.
As Somalilanders we believe that the time has come for the international community to fully recognize the security and stability we have preserved in the midst of chaos, and to acknowledge the legitimate, sovereign and independent status of our nation.
A new international paradigm for Somaliland is slowly but surely taking place.”