By Adow Mohamed, 12 May 2014

Somalia Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ali Nur was recalled for reasons beyond the recent arrest of a diplomat. It was earlier revealed that Ambassador Nur was recalled to Mogadishu last month following the arrest of diplomat Siyad Mohamud Shire in Nairobi.

However, it has now emerged Mogadishu was offended by the latest overtures Nairobi has been making towards Jubaland and Somaliland, the two main self-proclaimed independent states within Somalia “without involving the leadership of the Somalia government”.

Kenya has already named consuls to the two autonomous regions, a move that has reportedly enraged the Hassan Shiekh Mohamud-led government. Somalia’s leadership has always been opposed to the existence of the autonomous regions.

According to Somalia media reports, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed has written to Kenya “demanding respect”.

However, Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a Horn of Africa analyst with Southlink Consultants saysKenya’s interest in Mogadishu “is limited”, a scenario that may explain Nairobi’s uneventful response to the withdrawing of the ambassador. “Kenya has its interests largely in Kismayo. Kenya has its soldiers in this region.

The importance of Mogadishu is fast-dwindling, if you ask me,” he says. “Nairobi may not be bothered much about Mogadishu. They have Kismayu under different administration.” He says Kenya has no clear foreign policy on Somalia.

“The two countries have no policy which can be relied on in case of a tiff like this one,” he told the Star. Kenya has appointed Hillary Kyengo as the consul to Kismayu, the capital of Jubaland.

A high-powered delegation led by senior officials from the Foreign Affairs ministry was also sent to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland to lay the ground for the opening of the consulate.

Efforts to reach Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed and PS Karanja Kibicho for comment failed. Other officials declined to comment due to the “sensitivity of the matter”.

On Monday, Ambassador Nur was summoned by a special meeting in Mogadishu to brief the cabinet on the “poor bilateral relations” between the two countries.

In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Ambassador Nur suggested that KDF withdraws from Somalia. “There is no cordial relationship between the two countries. I don’t see why the forces should stay in the country in the name of keeping peace,” Nur is quoted as saying.

Abdisamad says Mogadishu cannot order the withdrawal of soldiers under Amisom, but can only sanction the African Union whose mandate KDF in Somalia falls under.

On Monday, more than 100 MPs signed a petition to oust President Mohamud, among other domestic reasons, for “failing to resolve the tainted diplomatic relations with Kenya”.

In the petition, the MPs also want the Somalia embassy in Nairobi closed “due to the persistent mistreatment of Somalis in that country”. Jubaland is led by Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe, a former warlord and ex-Ras Kamboni brigade leader. Somaliland is led by President Ahmed Silanyo.

Source: The Star