‘Goodwill measure’: Kenya reopens airspace to Somali flights

Nairobi says that the step has been taken in good faith in the mutual interest of the two East African countries.

Kenya announced on Thursday that it would reopen its airspace for flights to and from Somalia, a move welcomed by Mogadishu.

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry said it had “considered the mediation made and decided to reopen Kenya’s airspace to all flights originating from Somalia and from Kenya to Somalia”.

Nairobi halted all flights to and from Somalia in May, just days after a marked deterioration in strained relations since late last year.

The ministry said the goodwill measures have been taken in the mutual interest of the two East African countries, hoping that it will promote a complete normalization of relations, “involving diplomatic, trade and people-to-people ties that are unfairly The stress has passed”.

The ministry clarified that all coronavirus protocols will be applicable for travelers coming from Somalia to Kenya.

The Somali government saw Nairobi’s decision as a move that could ease ties between the two countries, which went downhill last December.

“The Government of Somalia welcomes Kenya to reopen its airspace with Somalia on Thursday. This move could pave the way for normalization [of] Bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries,” government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Molimou said on Twitter.

Somalia severed diplomatic ties with Kenya in December last year, accusing Nairobi of meddling in Mogadishu’s internal affairs.

Security, education and trade ties between the two neighbors fell apart for nearly five months, until Mogadishu announced in May that it was ready to restore ties with Nairobi, citing the interests of both countries.

However, just a few days later, Kenya decided to halt air traffic with Somalia without assigning any reason for the move.


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