Khat flights to resume Wednesday, Kenya to review Wajir airport stop for Somali flights

Flights transporting khat will resume Wednesday, Kenya’s foreign affairs Amina Mohamed said Tuesday in Mogadishu following the conclusion of the IGAD heads of states summit.

Addressing the media after the Summit, Mohamed said Kenya’s President and his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held bilateral talks and agreed the suspension which has now lasted for about two weeks be lifted.

Somalia announced September 5 that it was suspending flights transporting khat from Kenya till further notice adding any contravention would be met with consequences.

The announcement will be a boon for Kenya khat traders who say they lose about $6 million a day as a result of the ban. Khat prices have also significantly gone up in Mogadishu with a bunch of khat going for $200 which in normal cases retail for $2.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also said the two countries have agreed to allow commercial banks in Kenya to set up branches in Mogadishu.

Meanwhile, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told a joint media conference with his Kenyan counterpart that Kenya will review its aviation decisions which force flights from Somalia to make a stopover in Wajir, Kenya’s northern district before proceeding to Nairobi.

“We have agreed Kenya will work on allowing flights from Somalia to fly directly to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi,” said President Mohamud.

On his part, President Kenyatta said his country will stand with Somalia in ensuring the country stabilizes and grows its economy. Noting that terrorism was not a Somali but a global phenomenon, President Kenyatta called on Somali diaspora to come back and rebuild their country.

“Terrorism is not just a problem in Somalia. We have witnessed it happen in Brussels, Paris and Istanbul. I call on Somalis in diaspora to come back and help in rebuilding their country,” said Kenyatta.

He further called for free and fair elections which are set to start from September 24.

The leaders in Mogadishu during the 28th IGAD extra ordinary summit which happened in the country for the first time since the formation of IGAD in 1996. The event is also the largest gathering of foreign heads of states in 30 years.




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