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Somalia: President arrives in Djibouti to mend ties

By Staff reporter , GAROWE ONLINE

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A high-level delegation led by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has arrived in Djibouti on Thursday morning amid frayed ties between the two countries, Garowe Online reports.

Sources revealed to Garowe Online that Farmajo's visit is aimed at easing diplomatic tensions as relations soured over a recent Somalia’s calls for the lifting of the UN sanctions on the beleaguered tiny East African nation, Eritrea.

During his visit, Somali President will hold talks with his Djibouti counterpart, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, focusing on ways to mend the strained bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries.

While on a three-day historic visit to Asmara last month, Farmajo made a call for the removal of the sanctions on Eritrea, saying the lift contributes to the current political and diplomatic developments in the Horn of Africa region.

Both Somalia and Eritrea agreed to restore diplomatic relations after nearly 15 years and exchange Ambassadors for diplomatic cooperation.

In reaction to the Somali president’s view, Djibouti summoned its Ambassador in Mogadishu and issued an immediate press release early this month, expressing a ‘deep shock’ by Somalia's position on Eritrea sanctions.

"it is unacceptable to see our brotherly Somalia supporting Eritrea which is occupying part of our territory and still denying having Djiboutian prisoners," read the statement in part.

Djibouti and Eritrea are at loggerheads and battled in 1998 over the disputed Dumeira mountain and Dumeira island which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Asmara.

This week, Eritrea's foreign minister Osman Saleh arrived in the Somalia capital, Addis Ababa for talks on re-establishing the more than decade-long absent ties between the two countries.

The delegation which also included Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki's right-hand man Yemane Gebreab met with top Somali leaders in Mogadishu during their two-day visit.

Djibouti, alongside Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Ethiopia have contributed soldiers who make up the 20,000-strong peacekeeping African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to support Somalia’s fight against Al Shabaab.