Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Kenya

Newsline: Iran recalls ambassador to Kenya over court case

Iran recalled its ambassador to Kenya because of a court decision upholding sentences for two Iranians in jail, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Sunday, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-kenya-court-case/iran-recalls-ambassador-to-kenya-over-court-case-idUSKCN1QY0T2) Iran also lodged a formal complaint with the Kenyan ambassador in Tehran on Saturday because of the Kenyan court decision in the case of Ahmad Abolfathi and Seyed Mansour Mousavi. In 2016, a Kenyan judge reduced the life sentences given to the two Iranians convicted of planning bomb attacks to 15 years. The case raised concerns about possible Iranian plans to strike targets in the east African nation.


Newsline: Iranian ambassador to Kenya caught up in criminal investigation

Iran’s ambassador to Kenya is under criminal investigation over a plot to free two terror suspects from police custody, local Kenyan media reported. Ambassador Hadi Farajvand is suspected of looking for high-level contacts in government to help him release Iranian nationals Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi. The men are thought to be members of the Quds Force. https://www.thenational.ae/world/africa/iranian-ambassador-to-kenya-caught-up-in-criminal-investigation-1.830306) The two Iranians were arrested in 2012, when they travelled to Kenya as tourists. They were sentenced to life in prison in 2013, after being accused of plotting a terror attack in the African country. Their sentences were later reduced to 15 years in the court of appeal. They were then released after three judges appealed that sentence, but the appeal was challenged in the Supreme Court. The Kenyan authorities decided to hold the suspects util a final verdict. Police believe it’s the long-winded process in the Kenyan courts that led the Iranian diplomat to seek other ways to ensure the two citizens release. Authorities think the ambassador may have turned to two Kenyans who claimed to be interior ministry officials to help him secure the release of his countrymen.

Newsline: Somalia Moves to Calm Diplomatic Tensions With Kenya

The Somali government has moved to calm diplomatic tensions following Kenya’s decision to recall its ambassador to Mogadishu and instruct Somalia’s ambassador to leave Nairobi (https://www.voanews.com/a/somalia-moves-to-calm-diplomatic-tensions-with-kenya/4790876.html). The two counties are embroiled in a dispute over their maritime territorial boundary. The area in question covers an estimated 100,000 square kilometers of the Indian Ocean; the land beneath it purportedly holds large deposits of oil and gas. In a statement, the Somali government denied that it had auctioned off exploration rights at a Feb. 7 Somalia oil and gas conference in London, saying it had merely presented maps and seismic surveys. The government also said it would not undertake any other unilateral action in the disputed territory until the case is decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. A court date has not yet been set.

Newsline: Kenya recalls ambassador to Somalia over water rights clash

A top Kenyan official says the country has recalled its ambassador to Somalia and told the Somali ambassador to leave over an alleged land grab by Somalia. Foreign Affairs Principle Secretary Macharia Kamau said Saturday the recall is a consequence “of a most regretful and egregious decision by the government of Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders Somalia.” (https://apnews.com/0186d0253d6c4b4f9a37a5a02371e426). Kenya and Somalia are embroiled in a legal tussle at the International Court of Justice over their territorial waters in the Indian Ocean. Kenyan troops are part of the African Union force bolstering Somalia’s weak government against an extremist insurgency.

Newsline: US Embassy guards demand overtime pay in Kenya

Kenya Kazi Security guards attached to the United States Embassy in Nairobi have protested against the company’s move to “unfairly dismiss” them for demanding overtime arrears. The 358 guards are demanding more than Sh1 billion in arrears. In a press statement, the guards claim that on January 23, the federal government of the United States released $1.1 million to be paid to them. The management has not made the payments but instead summarily dismissed them, they said. They said that on March 26, 2013, Justice James Rika delivered a ruling awarding them overtime and commuter allowances among other benefits. The KK company on December 5 last year partly honoured the verdict by paying them commuter arrears totaling to Sh132,500 per guard. With the overtime arrears now pending, the guards engaged the management to give them a formula on how they were going to settle the pending overtime allowance arrears.


Newsline: US reopens diplomatic mission in Somalia after 28-year closure

The US has established its first diplomatic presence in Somalia for nearly 30 years. The state department said the “historic event” reflected the progress the east African nation had made. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is heading the embassy in Mogadishu. Previously it had been based in Nairobi, Kenya. The US closed its embassy in Somalia in January 1991 amid fighting between rebels and the government and had to airlift out its ambassador and staff.


Newsline: U.S. Denies Plans to Relocate Nairobi Embassy Offices to Somalia

The US Embassy made clarifications after sections of the media reported that the U.S Mission to Somalia located at the U.S embassy in Nairobi, Kenya would be moved to Mogadishu. This was after United States Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto was quoted by a Voice of America (VOA), journalist to have implied that the move could take place before the end of the year. The United States Mission to Somalia in a statement refuted the reports, indicating that Yamamoto had been misquoted by the VOA journalist. “Ambassador Yamamoto was interviewed by VOA journalist Sahra Abdi Ahmed. Her tweet, the US Embassy in Nairobi would move to Somalia as early as December, does not accurately reflect what was stated in the Interview,” the statement reads in part. The mission clarified that its department staff currently travel from Nairobi to Somalia for diplomatic engagements but the US was keen on re-establishing its diplomatic presence in Somalia. In 2015, former US Secretary of State John Kerry announced plans to re-open the embassy in Mogadishu.