Somalia agreed to de-escalate tensions with neighboring Kenya during a conference Monday in Djibouti.
Somalia said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) put pressure on the country to resolve its diplomatic tiff with Kenya during the 38th Extraordinary Assembly of IGAD Heads of State and Government.
IGAD, which consists of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, with Eritrea being an inactive member, devoted the conference to solving regional problems, with a focus on the situation in Ethiopia and the diplomatic tensions between Kenya and Somalia.
“IGAD heads put a lot of pressure on us to resolve the diplomatic tiff within the bloc. This is the first step to de-escalate tensions. Somalia accepted but made it a condition that a commission be set up to look into our complaints, including arming militia inside Kenya,” Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirizak was quoted by Garowe news as saying.
On Saturday, Somalia accused Kenya of mobilizing troops and arming militia groups to attack an area along their shared border.
In a statement, Somalia said “the federal government of Somalia is closely following the Kenyan government’s ongoing military mobilization in the Mandera area” of northern Kenya.
The row between the two countries is affecting the war on the Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militant group as Kenya has contributed over 3,500 troops to help secure the country.
Present at the conference were Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti; Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia; Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya; Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, president of Somalia, and Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, vice president of South Sudan. Also in attendance was Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission.
According to a communique released at the end of the conference, Prime Minister Abiy gave a briefing on the operation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and reaffirmed the primacy of constitutional order, stability and unity of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and promised it will allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” for humanitarian support.