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Archive for Somalia

Newsline: US diplomat to succeed ousted UN envoy for Somalia

A former US special representative to Somalia who also served as Washington’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo has been tapped to be the next United Nations envoy to Somalia, replacing an emissary who was expelled four months ago. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council in a letter released on May 30 that he plans to appoint James Swan as his envoy for Somalia. (https://www.france24.com/en/20190530-us-diplomat-succeed-ousted-un-envoy-somalia) Swan, who was also a US deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa and ambassador to Djibouti, will replace Nicholas Haysom, who was declared persona non grata by Somalia’s government in January after he raised human rights concerns. Swan’s appointment is expected to be supported by the council, diplomats said. Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced diplomat, was told to leave Somalia after he questioned the government’s decision to arrest an Al-Shabaab defector who was running in elections. He served in the post for three months.

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Newsline: Somalia Fires Diplomat for Advocating Ties with Israel

An internal fight over the possibility of diplomatic relations with Israel has led to the dismissal of a Somali government official who spoke out in favor of the change of policy. Abdullahi Dool, Director of Somalia’s Foreign Ministry, was forced out on March 31 after he publicly advocated reaching out to the Israelis, according to local media outlet, Radio Dalsan. “I too support diplomatic ties between Somalia and Israel. It is long overdue. Establishing diplomatic relations does not harm anyone but promote peace and cooperation,” Dool tweeted. Later, he added: “The Palestinians are their [own] worst enemies. They never miss an opportunity to miss a chance. They are idiots and losers who have hijacked their own people in Gaza. They should be condemned each time they attack civilians.” (https://hamodia.com/2019/04/01/somalia-fires-diplomat-advocating-ties-israel/) Dool subsequently deleted the tweets, explaining that he was expressing his personal opinion only. But public reaction was negative: “Over 80 percent of those who reacted on the station’s twitter handle said the government had done the right thing,” by firing him, reported Radio Dalsan in Mogadishu.

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: UN to Replace Expelled Diplomat in Somalia

The United Nations secretary-general said that he “deeply regrets” the decision of Somalia’s federal government to expel a top U.N. official, Nicholas Haysom, from the country, but that he will name a replacement. “The secretary-general has full confidence in Mr. Haysom, an experienced and respected international civil servant who has distinguished himself in numerous senior leadership roles, in the field and at U.N. headquarters,” Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said. “At the same time the secretary-general is totally committed to ensuring that the needs of the Somali people are at the forefront of the work of the United Nations in Somalia.” The Somali federal government declared U.N. envoy Haysom “persona non-grata” on Jan. 1, ordering him to leave the country just four months after he took up his post as the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative and head of the U.N. assistance mission in the country.

https://www.voanews.com/a/un-to-replace-expelled-diplomat-in-somalia-/4729451.html

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.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46449954

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.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201811240328.html