Kenya is set to open a diplomatic liaison office in Hargeisa city the capital of the breakaway Somaliland State which, analysts warn, could trigger tension between Kenya and Somalia.
The move comes even as the peaceful former State of the troubled Federal Republic of Somalia celebrates the 23rd anniversary since re-establishment of Somaliland as an autonomous state.
But Saturday, Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Kibicho Karanja while confirming that Nairobi has authorised the opening of a liaison office for Somaliland State in Kenya, said Kenya will also open a liaison office in Hargeisa.
“It is true that we are opening a liaison office in Hargeisa and we have allowed Somaliland to open theirs in Nairobi too. But that does not mean we’ll have a diplomatic consulate,” Dr Kibicho said.
“The Federal Government of Somalia is well briefed on the initiative as Kenya recognises the existence of only one government in Somalia,” Dr Kibicho said.
Somalia is said to have protested the move, given that Somaliland is preparing to campaign for recognition at the African Union and the United Nations.
Somaliland which currently has a population of about three million people seceded from Somalia in 1991. It is located to the north-western part of the Somali Republic, and has enjoyed