Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Gelle has addressed the crisis in Somalia and Kenya, responding for the first time to criticism from the Somali federal government.
Late last year, tensions soured again between the two countries, after the Somali federal government accused neighboring Kenya of meddling in its own affairs.
Outgoing Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta met at the IGAD summit in Djibouti in December, although they were accompanied by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed and Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Gelle. Djibouti was then tasked with working to defuse the high-level tensions between the two countries.
Djibouti set up a fact-finding mission to investigate Somalia’s concerns. Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Gelle, in an interview with the BBC, spoke for the first time since then about the crisis between the two countries.
Gelle said it is necessary to improve relations between Mogadishu and Nairobi. “The relationship between Somalia and Kenya requires co-operation, good relations, mutual respect, and people working together,” He said.
He added that the two countries are neighbors and are inseparable. “The people of the two countries have always lived together and will live together. “We are co-workers, brothers and sisters. Conflicts come and go, but people are not moving and the country is not moving,” He added.
The Djiboutian president explained why the Somali government did not respond when it was outraged by Djibouti’s handling of the Somali-Kenyan conflict.
“Firstly, there is no one who can separate Somalia and Djibouti. Secondly, this process came at the request of the President of Somalia at the IGAD Summit. We could say send it to someone else, but we lovingly agreed, ” He said.