November 14, 2019 / 6:39 PM / a month ago

Kenya, Somalia agree to restore ties after spat over oil rights

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya and Somalia agreed to restore ties on Thursday after a months-long spat over oil rights that led the neighbors to halt the issuance of visas on arrival for each other’s citizens.

The two East African nations “agreed to normalize bilateral relations” beginning with the restoration of the visa policy, Kenya’s presidency said on Twitter late on Thursday.

The oil rights dispute is linked to the nations’ maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean, subject of a long-running case before the International Court of Justice that Somalia filed against Kenya in 2014.

Tensions escalated early this year when Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia after the Mogadishu government decided to auction the oil and gas exploration blocks at the center of the maritime territorial dispute. Somalia denied the accusation. [L5N20C0I7]

The statement on the Kenya presidency’s Twitter did not reference the oil dispute. It included a photo of the presidents of the two countries shaking hands.

Somalia has not commented.

Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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