Kenya’s visa, flight rules ‘potentially destabilising’, Somalia says

Somalia has urged Kenya to reconsider its visa rules on diplomatic passport holders and suspension of direct flights terming the decision as ‘potentially destabilising’.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry in a letter to its opposite in Nairobi said the recent decisions by Kenya not only ‘contravene the neighbourly bond that exists between Somalia and Kenya’ but also go counter to ‘diplomatic norms in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual respect’.

“The Government of Somalia is concerned that several members of the Somali Government who travelled to Nairobi recently, including parliamentarians and Cabinet ministers, were detained by immigration officials, their passports confiscated, forcing them to return to Mogadishu,” the statement read in part.

The reaction follows the decision Monday to block entry for two senators and one deputy minister by Kenyan immigration officials despite them holding diplomatic passports. Planning Minister Gamal Hassan, his health counterpart Fawziya Abikar and National Security Advisor Abdi Said were cleared after producing non Somali passports.

READ ALSO: Somalia not aware of travel changes by Kenya, Immigration boss says

Immigration director-general Mohamed Koofi told Goobjoog News Tuesday there was no communication from Kenya on any changes regarding visa rules for diplomatic passport holders.

Responding to questions from journalists on the development yesterday, Kenya’s foreign minister Monica Juma said it was usual that those travelling produce visas. “We all travel with visas.”

Somalia has also taken issue with the directive May 9 requiring all flights from Mogadishu to stop over in Wajir suspending the 2017 agreement between Somalia and Kenya ending the ten-year ban.

“The Government of Somalia also expresses its concern with regards to the reinstitution of a mandatory stopover in Wajir ostensibly for purposes of conducting additional security checks on Somali passengers,” Somalia said. “This is inconsistent with an agreement reached between our two Governments in respect of conducting direct flights from Mogadishu to Nairobi.”

 

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