Somalia On Good Terms With Kenya Says Somali Foreign Minister

Addis Ababa — In an interview with VOA, Omer said there were “elements in our region that want to divide us” by pitting nations and religions against each other, but he added he was not bothered by reports that Kenya, for security reasons, was considering building a wall along its border.

Omer said a country could do as it wished, though he wondered whether this would actually solve security problems.

He said Somalia believed the border should be open to allow trade, the movement of people, and the sharing of culture and education. Somalia, he said, needed the human resources of Kenya to come and help us rebuild Somalia.”

He said “I think there is a lot of good will and good relationship to build on, rather than to divide” the two countries: walls were not the answer. The Foreign Minister expressed gratitude to the young Kenyan men and women who had come to fight Al-Shabaab.

He said it was important that there should be increased sharing of intelligence and surveillance among countries fighting such Islamist groups.

He said the Somali army at present was “strong enough to kick out Al-Shabaab,” noting that the group had been left with diminished resources, but terror groups, he said, were now looking for “soft targets” in Somalia and Kenya, such as hotels and universities, which because of their openness to the public are difficult to defend.

Attacks on such targets, he said, are designed only to cause the highest possible amount of damage to communities. Elements of Al-Shabaab, he said, simply want “to cause harm.”

Omer said it was good that refugees were returning to Somalia from the Dadaab camps and from Yemen.