Somalia Officials Boycott Nairobi Meeting Over Denied Visa

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi

Somalia was not very pleased when the Kenyan government suspended direct flights from the capital city of Somalia to Nairobi for security reasons.

Under its Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, they asked Kenya for reconsideration in line with its mandate to protect and safeguard its sovereignty and the dignity and wellbeing of its citizens, as they felt we were being unneighbourly.

After three senior Somalia government officials were denied entry visas in Nairobi despite holding diplomatic passports, on Sunday, Somalia’s Ministry of Health and Human Resources wrote to UN agencies and donors asking them to reschedule any meetings that were to be held in Nairobi.

Previously, top government officials on duty were allowed visas on arrival, based on a bilateral agreement signed between the two sides in 2016, but Kenya, however, changed the rule and officials must get visas at the embassy in Mogadishu.

“Due to recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenya, the ministry informs all partners that representatives from the ministry will not be able to attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars and training to be held in Nairobi. The ministry highly encourages those events to be held inside the country or be held at alternative countries for ease of travel to ministry representatives,” said Abdullahi Hashi Ali, the director-general at the ministry.

This implies that Somalia officials will skip the UN-Habitat Assembly, which was to start on Sunday in Nairobi and was to be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Somalia has also given NGOs operating in the country one month’s notice to relocate their centers to Somalia or be barred from serving there.

Kenyan Immigration officials said the three Somalia officials had not obtained visas at the Kenyan embassy as was required under the new rules. In turn, the Somali delegation that had been allowed in on foreign passports boycotted the EU event at the UN Office in Gigiri on Tuesday afternoon.

Comments