by Chrispinus Omar
NAIROBI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed began his first state visit to Kenya on Thursday ahead of a special summit on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to be held on Saturday.
Mohamed was received by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the two learders held one-on-one talks before they led their delegations in bilateral talks aimed at bolstering cooperation between the two countries.
Kenyatta is expected to impress on the need to reinvigorate efforts to scale up collaboration in areas such as security, trade and investment, civil aviation as identified during the inaugural session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation that was held in Nairobi in July 2015.
The Kenyan leader is also expected to speak on the importance for technical teams to convene to review the implementation status of the Joint Commission for Cooperation, in particular to conclude the proposed instruments of cooperation.
Last month, President Kenyatta attended the inauguration of President Mohamed in Mogadishu and pledged Kenya's continued support to the Horn of Africa country.
The Kenyan leader assured the new Somali president that Kenya would remain steadfast in supporting efforts that would bring peace and stability in Somalia.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said on Sunday that Kenya and Somalia enjoy warm and cordial relations founded on trust, cooperation and mutual interests.
"We share common heritage and our views converge on many regional and international issues. Our common endeavour for durable peace, viable stability and sustainable development for both our peoples and region continue to underline the necessity for our mutual cooperation," Esipisu said.
He said Kenyatta would also speak to the fact that AMISOM draw-down is scheduled to begin in 2018 and that this would require scaling up efforts to build Somalia's national security architecture and strengthen the security apparatus to facilitate a smooth handover.
Kenya will host an IGAD Summit on Saturday, whose focus would be on Somali refugees and the need to create a conducive environment for them to feel safe to return and develop their country.