Somali president visiting Kenyan capital Nairobi
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and his Somali counterpart Hassan Sheikh Mohamud have called for the extension of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The two leaders recommended to UN Security Council to consider extending the mandate when it expires in March 20-13. They made the call during a joint press conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. They say an extension to the mandate would assist in the stabilization of Somalia which is slowly returning to normalcy after two decades of civil war.
But experts say Kenya has its own interests in Somalia and the extension of the mandate will assist in fulfilling its objectives.
There are also some sticky points in the relations between the two countries. Several cities in Kenya have come under grenade attacks which have been blamed on Somali al-Shabab fighters. And just recently, the two countries had a political showdown over the formation of regional administrations.
The Kenyan government has also ordered thousands of Somali refugees to crowd into overcrowded camps. This has angered Somali officials. They sau the central administration based in Mogadishu has the utmost authority of creating regional administrations with cooperation from the local clan elders.
Kenya and Somalia have jointly agreed to establish a joint permanent border commission to deal with security and other cross-border issues along the common border. Kenya currently hosts more half a million Somali refugees who fled the country since 1991 following the outbreak of civil war.