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Somalia and Kenya normalize bilateral relations

Kenya and Somalia agreed to restore ties on Thursday, November 14, after a meeting between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The normalization of relations will begin with the restoration of visa policy that allows free movement of people between the countries. Aviation authorities will also work to restore direct flights between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

The agreement to normalize relations follows a months-long dispute over oil rights in the Indian Ocean, with the two countries contesting ownership of a territory thought to be rich in hydrocarbons. In 2014, Somalia sought arbitration from the United Nations International Court of Justice over this issue; Kenya has said it prefers an out-of-court settlement.

In other Somalia news, the top general for U.S. military operations in Africa, General Stephen Townsend, visited Somalia on Tuesday to discuss the fight against extremists in the country. Townsend discussed security developments with Farmaajo and the chief of staff of the Somali Armed Forces. The trip occurred as Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab released a video calling for its fighters to target U.S. interests worldwide.