Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Friday arrived in Kenya’s capital Nairobi for talks with his counterpart Uhuru Keynatta on key regional and bilateral issues, his office said.
Mohamud departed Mogadishu’s Adan Adde Airport on Friday morning, just days after returning from a visit to Eritrea where he had met with Eritrean ruler Isaias Afwerki and signed a memorandum of understanding.
“At the invitation of H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, I have today traveled to Kenya on an official state visit where I will hold talks with my counterpart on further strengthening bilateral cooperation & relations between the two sides for the mutual benefit of our two peoples & nations,” Somali president tweeted.
It’s his second visit to an African country since his election in May. He earlier visited Eritrea where thousands of Somali troops had completed a clandestine military training.
During his stay in Nairobi, Somali President is expected to sign a deal with Kenyatta on the resumption of Kenyan khat imports to Somalia, years after the previous government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – better known as Farmajo – suspended miraa flights from Kenya.
He is also due to discuss with Kenyatta efforts to mend strained relations between the countries as he sees Kenya a key partner in his administration’s stabilization and development agenda. Kenya has thousands of troops in Somalia, who are taking part in the fight against Islamist insurgents.
In a speech at Mohamud’s inauguration last month, Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta said Somali President could count on Nairobi as a “dependable partner” in his development agenda.
His visit to Kenya has arrived after ties with Ethiopia – Horn of Africa’s anchor state, which also contributes troops to African peacekeeping mission in Somalia – plummeted to their lowest point in decades. Ethiopian Premier Abiy Ahmed, a staunch supporter of Farmajo, was irked by Somali President’s appointment of Hamza Abdi Barre as Prime Minister.