Thu, 05 Aug 2021

Kenya reopens airspace to Somalia

11 Jun 2021, 02:30 GMT+10

NAIROBI, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Thursday reopened its airspace for flights to and from Somalia after a month of closure, in hopes of realizing full normalization of bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries.

Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the decision was necessitated by the mutual interests of the two countries.

"This goodwill measure has been made in the mutual interest of our two countries and in the hope that it will cause the full normalization of bilateral relations between Kenya and Somalia including diplomatic, trade and people to people linkages that have undergone undue strain," the ministry said.

The ministry, however, stressed that existing COVID-19 measures will apply to all passengers from Somalia to Kenya, as directed by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. COVID-19 certificates are required as proof that one does not have the virus before leaving or entering the country.

"All travelers (children) below the age of five years will be exempted from COVID-19 negative PCR test to enter Kenya," the ministry said. All travelers will be expected to fill the international traveler surveillance form available on the Ministry of Health's website and submit it before travel.

Somalia in December 2020 severed its diplomatic ties with neighboring Kenya, accusing Nairobi of frequently violating Mogadishu's sovereignty. Mogadishu restored diplomatic relations with Nairobi on May 5 with mediation by Qatar.

Kenya suspended flights to and from Somalia on May 11 after Somalia refused to lift a ban imposed in 2020 on Kenya's cargo flights for khat (miraa).

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