Mogadishu [Somalia], December 15 (ANI): Somalia on Tuesday severed diplomatic ties with Kenya, accusing it of meddling in its internal political affairs weeks before a crucial general election, The New York Times reported.
In an announcement broadcast on state television, Osman Dubbe, the Minister of Information, said Somalia was breaking off relations because Kenya had violated his country's sovereignty adding that Somalia would recall all its diplomats from Kenya and gave Kenyan diplomats seven days to leave the country.
"The federal government of Somalia reached this decision as an answer to the political violations and the Kenyan government's continuous blatant interference recently in our country's sovereignty. The current leadership of the Kenyan government is working on dividing the two nations, who share common interests," Dubbe said.
"#Somalia inevitably decides to severe its diplomatic relations with #Kenya as result of constant interference in the internal and political affairs of Somalia. This is violation of African Union's Constitutive Act and is an affront to the peaceful coexistence of African nations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia wrote in a tweet.
This comes after bilateral talks between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the breakaway territory of Somaliland, President Musa Bihi Abdi. The two leaders discussed mutual interest between both the countries.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Somalis were already facing myriad threats, from floods and desert locusts and on Tuesday, opposition groups and their supporters clashed with police in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as they began protests aimed at pushing the government for a fair vote.
The United States had announced just over a week ago that it would withdraw its troops from Somalia, raising concerns that the security gains achieved over the past decade against the Shabab, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, could be undermined and the militants could try to claim it as a victory, The New York Times reported.
Kenya and Somalia both have been dogged by violence meted out by the Shabab. They have been engaged for years in a maritime dispute that is currently being adjudicated at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, The New York Times further reported.
Tensions between both the countries began in late November when the Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Nairobi of meddling in the upcoming elections. (ANI)