In Summary
  • Move comes after three Somali officials were refused entry into the country over visa rules
  • The decision means that Somali officials will skip the UN Habitat Assembly, which starts Monday in Nairobi and is to be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

  • Somalia's Ministry of Planning also said any NGOs still running operations from Nairobi will be barred from working inside Somalia.

Somalia's boundary tiff with Kenya has taken a new turn after Mogadishu barred its officials from attending any meetings hosted in Nairobi to protest last week's visa denials.

The Somali government has also given non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in Somalia one month's notice to relocate their centres to Mogadishu or be barred from operating there.

WORKSHOPS

This comes after three senior Somali officials travelling to attend the EU-sponsored cross-border conflict management programme were refused 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.

"Due to recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenya, the Ministry... will not be able to attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars and trainings to be held in Nairobi (and advices that) those events be held inside the country or... at alternative countries for ease of travel," said Director-General Abdullahi Hashi Ali.

The decision means that Somali officials will skip the UN Habitat Assembly, which starts Monday in Nairobi and is to be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Somalia's Ministry of Planning also said any NGOs still running operations from Nairobi will be barred from working inside Somalia.

NGOs like World Vision, Save the Children and Red Cross used to run their operations in Somalia from Nairobi due to insecurity. Most of them have since relocated to Mogadishu. In October last year, the Somali Cabinet had issued a directive to consolidate supervision of NGOs by requiring their offices to be inside Somalia.

The new order from the Planning Ministry seems heightened in the wake of the ongoing tiff with Kenya.

The ministry did not elaborate on which NGOs were still operating outside Somalia, but indicated that some of the agencies were running Somali affairs from Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Djibouti.

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