Somalia is taking measures to reduce contact with Kenya amid an ongoing diplomatic row heightened by the move mid this month by authorities in Nairobi to deny entry top government officials.
The Ministry of Health Saturday notified aid partners in Nairobi to change venues of future meetings advising its staff would not be attending should they be held in the Kenyan capital.
“Due to the recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenyan, the ministry informs all its partners that representatives from the ministry will not attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars and trainings to be held in Nairobi,” the Health Ministry said in a letter.
The Ministry urged that the meetings be held either within Somalia ‘or be moved to alternative countries for ease of travel to ministry representatives’.
The announcement follows reports that President Mohamed Farmaajo avoided the Kenyan airspace during his visit to South Africa Friday.
RELATED COVERAGE: Kenya’s visa, flight rules ‘potentially destabilising’, Somalia says
Kenyan aviation authorities turned back Energy deputy minister Osman Liban and Senators Ilyas Ali and Zamzam Dahir last week on grounds they did not have visas despite the three holding diplomatic passports.
Health Minister Fawziya Abikar whose ministry issued yesterday’s directive alongside her Planning counterpart Gamal Hassan and National Security Advisor Abdisaid Ali were allowed in after they produced non-Somali passports.
Immigration Director-General Mohamed Aden Koofi, however, told Goobjoog News his office was not aware of any changes and that there has never been communication from Kenya on any changes.
“This decision is their own (Kenya’s). We have never received any information regarding such changes,” Koofi said.
It is not clear however if the Federal Government has taken an official position to cancel meetings in Nairobi.
Somalia last year instructed Nairobi based international organisations to move into the country or risk denial of permits.