President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (middle), Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Formaajo (r), and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in summit meeting held on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. September 25, 2019.
CAIRO - 25 September 2019: Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Formaajo and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta held on Tuesday a summit meeting mediated by African Union (AU) Chair, Egypt, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The Egyptian mediation occurred upon the requests of both countries and the meeting was attended by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. The purpose of the meeting was discussing bilateral disagreements. Somali and Kenyan heads of state presented their views on the issues, and agreed to form a joint committee to restore relations and reinstate trust.
There is a maritime border dispute between both countries as each claims a triangle measuring 100,000 square meters containing potential hydrocarbon deposits. As reported by Daily Nation, Kenya granted exploration permits for three oil blocks in the disputed area of the Indian Ocean.
In February, Kenya withdrew its ambassador to Somalia and expelled the latter’s envoy, as reported by The Africa Report. In May, Kenya suspended direct flights and denied three Somali officials entry triggering Somalia to prohibit its officials from attending any events in Nairobi and ban Kenyan NGOs in the country. A month later, Kenya closed a border crossing in Lamu due to security concerns.
A mediation attempt by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed earlier this year failed. Ethiopia and Kenya are part of a UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia’s Amisom to support the government against Al Shabab terrorist group. Kenya is currently building a wall on the borders with Somalia to shield the country against Al Shabab attacks.