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A high level Kenyan delegation led by the country’s foreign affairs minister, Moses Wetangula, and Defense Minister Yusuf Haji arrived in Somalia’s war ravaged capital of Mogadishu on Tuesday to meet with their Somalia counterparts. Officials said they have agreed to work together in the war against al-Shabaab insurgents battling the Somalia government.
The Kenyan delegates received a warm welcome at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde international airport and met with Somali leaders including President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden at the presidential palace, Villa Somalia.
A senior TFG official who requested not to be named told Somalia Report that both sides discussed security issues for several hours and focused on how the countries can work together to fight the insurgents which are also wreaking havoc on Kenya's tourism industry.
Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said during a joint press conference that his government will work with Somali government to eradicate any threats against the two nations.
“We delivered a special messages from President Kibaki of Kenya on the relationship between the two countries...and we focused on the importance of the peace and security in the region,” said Moses Wetangula.
He added that the Kenyan government decided to prevent threats from al-Shabaab by working closely with the Somali government.
“Together we underlined the desire to continue our efforts by sharing information through a coordinated approach and by jointly being on alert to resist any internal and external threats to the peace and the security over our two countries. We have agreed to engage each other in consultative meetings until the people of Somalia and people of Kenya can live in sustainable peace,” said the minister.
Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Hagi denied any direct involvement of the Kenyan military force in the recent clashes from Lower Juba region where pro-government forces have been seizing several areas from the hard-line Islamist al-Shabaab group. However initial reports received by Somalia Report indicate that hundreds of Somali government troops are flooding into the strategic rebel abandoned town Afmadow with the help of Kenyan special forces and helicopters.
“No Kenyan troops are inside Somalia’s territories currently, but Kenya trained more TFG troops in the past and they are battling now against al-Shabaab in southern Somalia regions and we are giving them for both logistical and financial support,” said Yusuf Hagi.
Somalia’s Defense Minister Hussein Arab Isse confirmed that both countries have agreed to work together to end al-Shabaab fighters throughout the region.
"We need the support of Kenya so that our forces will be able to end al-Shabaab or any other threats against both Kenya and Somalia," he said.
The visit comes as Kenyan forces have reportedly entered southern Somalia and a suicide car bomb exploded at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.