Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta delivers a speech during the 39th IGAD extraordinary summit in Nairobi on July 5, 2022. (TONY KARUMBA / AFP)
NAIROBI - Kenyan and Somali leaders on Friday recommitted to fighting terrorism, tackling drought, and resuming cross-border trade as the two countries revitalize their engagement in all areas of mutual interest.
In a joint communique issued in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud agreed that Kenya and Somalia will collaborate with other regional and international actors to provide the much-needed humanitarian assistance to mitigate the effects of the current drought in the Horn of Africa region
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud directed the security agencies of the two countries to coordinate their efforts in the anti-terror fight to ensure the safety and protection of the citizens of both countries, while intensifying the fight against terrorism.
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In a joint communique issued in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the two leaders agreed that Kenya and Somalia will collaborate with other regional and international actors to provide the much-needed humanitarian assistance to mitigate the effects of the current drought in the Horn of Africa region.
The two leaders also announced plans to open their borders and re-launch direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
"Further agreed that the Kenya Airways scheduled flights to Mogadishu will resume immediately based on the existing Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA). The BASA will be reviewed by the relevant authorities," they said.
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Both Kenyatta and Mohamud directed that the Joint Commission for Co-operation (JCC) between the two nations be convened in Mogadishu in August to discuss and agree on matters of mutual interest such as joint security activities, defense, agriculture, trade, intelligence exchange, health, education, training in various fields, and continuous review of the visa regime.
The two leaders said the opening of the border between the two countries will ease the movement of people and enhance trade in goods and services.
Kenyan and Somali traders have complained that the border closure and subsequent suspension of khat export to Mogadishu have had huge effects on their businesses.
The traders said many cargo businesses depending on transportation of cross-border cargo were closed with flights grounded due to a diplomatic spat between the two countries.
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The two leaders also agreed to facilitate, diversify and promote trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.
They directed the immediate market access of fish and fish products from Somalia to Kenya and vice versa, and the resumption of trade in khat from Kenya to Somalia resumed with immediate effect.
The two neighboring countries also resolved to issue visas free of charge on arrival for diplomatic and service passport holders from both countries
"For holders of Somali Service Passports, Courtesy Visas free of charge/gratis on arrival will be issued within 48 hours, after completion of online visa application accompanied by a Note Verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation," they said.
The two countries also underscored the need to process visas for holders of ordinary passports as soon as possible, preferably within ten working days, and directed the ministries of foreign affairs to implement the issues agreed upon within two weeks.
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