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Uhuru promises to strengthen Kenya-Somalia ties

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to work towards strengthening diplomatic ties between Kenya and Somalia. The president made the commitment on Thursday when attended the inauguration ceremony of Somalia’s new President Hassan Mohamud in Mogadishu.

The head of state also noted that the two countries depend on each to progress.

“Kenya recognises that our stability and economic wellbeing are dependent on the economic stability of Somalia’s wellbeing and the region,” President Kenyatta said.

Mr Kenyatta also called upon his Somalia counterpart to work towards restoring peace and stability in the region.

“I look forward to working with you to remove all barriers of trade, and to open our borders… Kenya is a brother you can count on,” the president said.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti among other African heads of government.

President Mohamud succeeds outgoing head of state Mohamed Farmaajo whom he defeated in elections that were held last month.

Farmaajo’s presidency was characterised by frosty diplomatic ties between Kenya and Somalia that were worsened by a maritime dispute. The two countries closed their embassies at the height of the diplomatic row.

The newly sworn in president will be serving as the head of state for a second time having previously lost his seat to Farmaajo in 2017.

He comes into an office with a full in-tray as the government of Somalia continues battling Al-Shabaab militia who have been a constant security threat in the Horn of Africa.

The drought situation that the country is currently facing is another issue that he will have to address on short notice. President Mohamud has already appealed to the international community, aid agencies and donors to help his government alleviate the dire effects of the drought.