By Waweru Titus
New Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was received by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday (23/03/17) and accorded full honours at the start of his first state visit to Kenya.
Farmajo was honoured with a 21-gun salute before inspecting his first guard of honour.
The two leaders agreed to revive their engagement in all areas of mutual interests within the context of a reactivated joint commission of cooperation.
“In particular, we agreed to take the following actions: Within the shortest possible time, open two border posts in Dobley-Liboi, and Mandera-Bulahawa. And to facilitate the movement of people, goods and services.”
“We have directed the security teams from both countries to meet immediately and agree on modalities of re-launching direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu within two weeks,” stated Uhuru.
On the war against terror, the Kenyan Head of State and his Somalia counterpart agreed that the fight against Al Shabaab militants must continue until they are no longer a threat.
“Al Shabaab remains ready to kill innocent people in both Kenya and Somalia,” President Uhuru stressed.
President Farmajo noted that the close economic ties between Kenya and Somalia would not only help improve the lives of millions of the citizens of the two countries, but also enhance security in the East African region.
“My government is ready to work with the Kenyan Government to realize the full benefits of the economic cooperation between our countries.”
“When it comes to trade, I believe that the answer is not only to remove barriers to trade but to do trade right, making sure it has strong labour standards and strong environment standards to ensure the rights of our people are protected,” reiterated the Somali leader.
Mr Farmajo indicated that the authorization of the resumption of flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu by President Uhuru ushered in a new beginning that would enhance development of trade and economic growth between the two nations.
“Our cooperation is indeed critical to our historic relations and our continuous efforts to fight insecurity and poverty,” he remarked.
Deputy President William Ruto, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed, Joseph Nkaissery, Raychelle Omamo, James Macharia, Cleopa Mailu, Willy Bett, Mwangi Kiunjuri and Dan Kazungu attended the bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi.