Somaliland’s President Musa Bihi Abdi is expected to hold talks with Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi on Monday, December 14.
In what is expected to change the dynamics in the Horn of Africa politics, Bihi is looking at Kenya to champion Somaliland’s push for international recognition.
Bihi arrived in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon accompanied by several ministers from his government and was met by Kenya’s agriculture minister, Mr. Peter Munya flanked by administrative secretary for foreign affairs, Ababu Namwamba.
This is the first time a sitting Somaliland President is making a state visit to Kenya.
Somaliland, just like Kenya was a British Protectorate before gaining her independence in 1960. The country then merged with Somalia, a former Italian colony but the union broke in 1991 after the start of civil war in Somalia.
Since then, Somaliland has unsuccessfully pushed for international recognition.
Somaliland envoy to Kenya Bashe Omar said President Bihi’s visit to Kenya will be vital as the two countries build on their good relations.
“Kenya is very important to Somaliland especially in trade and social development,” Bashe said.
“We (as Somaliland) are very excited about this state visit by our president because it is an historical visit. We hope that Kenya will be our partner in the push for international recognition,” he added.
President Bihi has held a similar visit to Guinea where he was accorded a state reception.
This however did not go down well with Somalia who accused Guinea of interfering with the country’s internal affairs.
Somalia has maintained Somaliland is still part of its regions.
However, Somaliland as opposed to Somalia enjoys relative peace, has its own democratically elected government, has a military and its own currency.
Kenya and Somalia are locked in a bitter row with the latter accusing Kenya of engaging in their internal affairs.