File Photo/Somali Times
The Kenyan government on Thursday took a surprise move to reopen flights to Somalia, a month after announcing a three-month hiatus. Kenya described the decision as ‘optimistic’ and hoped it would lead to a return to normal relations.
John Gachie, a Horn of Africa political analyst, told The Standard that Kenya was in the middle of a difficult situation and could no longer ignore Somalia, forcing its decision.
”Kenya has no choice, it has to talk to Mogadishu effectively, given many issues, such as security and trade,” he said. Gachie added that in light of Kenya’s decision to relax its diplomatic stance on Mogadishu, it is Nairobi’s best interest, because it is the one that will suffer the most if deteriorating relations with Somalia.
”Kenya has more security priorities in Somalia than trade. The ban on mira exports to Somalia is a card that Mogadishu is using to intimidate Nairobi,” he said.
Diplomatic sources say Kenya’s decision to resume flights to Somalia has affected low-level talks between the two countries. A lot of things happen in secret, and these things lead to various developments. It is in this context that Kenya seems to have been forced to make its decision. ”Both sides must take the first step,” a source told The Standard.