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Farmajo given heroic reception in Nairobi amid Kenya-Somalia diplomatic row

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Despite the deteriorating diplomatic ties between Somalia and Kenya, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was on Monday given reception befitting his status at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Garowe Online reports.

The Somalia leader has been at loggerheads with Kenya for months now, with a controversial victory of Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe and Indian Ocean maritime dispute contributing largely to the standoff.

But upon arrival at JKIA, Farmajo was received by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Air Force Commander Major General Francis Ogolla, an indication that the relationship between the two nations remains intact.

Thereafter, the Somalia President inspected a military parade at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before leaving in the company of the two and Somalia ambassador to Nairobi Mohamed Nur.

"H.E. President @M_Farmaajo was accorded a cordial welcome and was received by Kenya's Transport Cabinet Secretary @JamesMacharia_ after arriving in Nairobi for ICPDNairobiSummit. Somali Ambassador to Kenya H.E @MohamudTarsan was also close at hand," Villa Somalia tweeted.

Farmajo will be attending United Nations Population Fund conference dubbed International Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi that commenced today (Monday).

The reception at JKIA is a total contrast of the recent display by the two nations which saw their ambassadors recalled over the Indian Ocean maritime dispute in March this year.

So thorny has been the matter that Farmajo snubbed JKIA in June this year while leaving South Africa, opting to use Dar es Salaam International Airport after accusing Kenya of antagonism.

In September, both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Farmajo met at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York but their meeting did not yield fruits.

Uhuru had opted for negotiations with the war-torn country, insisting that Kenya prefers dialogue rather than a hectic court process in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

“In the same spirit, my administration continues to reach out to Somalia in an effort to find an amicable and sustainable solution to the maritime boundary dispute between us,” he said.

But in a swift response, Farmajo ruled out negotiations, exuding confidence that the International Court of Justice would solve the stalemate amicably.

"We are happy that the ICJ found that it has jurisdictions to hear the case and it has scheduled it for November. Somalia as a member of UN, is keen to see this court settlement to its end," said the Somalia leader.

Recently, Somalia reported Kenya to International Civil Aviation in Canada for allegedly violating her airspace after an aircraft directly landed in Kismayo Airport despite a ban imposed by Mogadishu.

A host of Somalia leaders had boarded the plane from Nairobi to attend Sheikh Madobe's inauguration. Farmajo's government had rejected Madobe's victory, accusing Kenya of imposing him during controversial August polls.

Despite the opposition from Mogadishu, Kenya went on to deploy National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale for Madobe's inauguration amid the standoff.

A fortnight ago, Kenya's Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Kamau Macharia blamed Farmajo for the sea row, adding that 'Kenya has no issues with Somali people apart from the leadership'.

While it's not clear whether or not Farmajo will meet Uhuru for a private meeting, the two are likely to share a platform on Tuesday during the conference.

On Monday, Uhuru spent most of his time at State House where he ushered in Lesotho PM Thomas Thabane. The two held bilateral talks between the two countries.

International Court of Justice has scheduled June 2020 for the hearing of maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia after postponing the case twice. Kenya still hopes for out of court settlement.


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