Somalia denies auctioning disputed maritime area with Kenya

Written By: Betty Kiptum/Claire Wanja
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Somalia says it is not offering oil blocks L21, L22, L23 and L24 in the area until the maritime boundary case is decided by ICJ.
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The Somalia government has hinted at a ceasefire in the ongoing maritime boundary diplomatic spat with Kenya.

In extending an olive branch to Kenya the Somalia government, dismissed claims it has auctioned controversial maritime waters in the international market and have pledged to respect and comply with the outcome of a case on the disputed waters filed by Kenya at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Somalia government is dismissing claims of mischief on their part as regards the ownership of the disputed maritime boundaries with Kenya and says it is ready to find an amicable solution to the dispute and has assured it is committed to work closely in cooperation with Kenya.

” In addition,the Government of Somalia regrets the recent statements made by the Government of Kenya alleging that the Government of Somalia is “proferring to bid” any blocks in Kenya’s potential maritime zones to external bidders. Somalia is not now offering, nor does it have any plans to offer,any blocks in the disputed maritime area until the Parties’maritime boundary is decided by the ICJ. In this respect,the Government of Somalia wishes to reassure the Government of Kenya that it stands by its commitment not to undertake any unilateral activities in the disputed area until such time as the ICJ renders its Judgment. Somalia also wishes to reassure Kenya that when the ICJ does render its judgment, Somalia will fully respect and comply therewith.” said a statement from Somalia Embassy.

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Kenya’s Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau said Kenya has sought to find an amicable and peaceful resolution to the maritime boundary.

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The Kenyan government had accused Somalia of auctioning oil blocks in a disputed section of the maritime boundary.

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In its judgement of February 2, 2017, the ICJ decided to adjudicate the maritime dispute after negotiations between Kenya and Somalia failed. Kenya wants the dispute be resolved through negotiations.

The diplomatic dispute resulted in Kenya ordering Somalia ambassador to depart Kenya.

” Finally,the Government of Somalia also regrets the Government of Kenya’s decision to Instruct the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Somalia to depart Kenya without prior consultation with the Government of Somalia. The Somali and Kenyan people share strong cultural and historical ties that cannot be severed or affected by any disagreements among them. Indeed,the Somali and the Kenyan people’s destiny and future are indissolubly interconnected. Hence,the Government of Somali is committed to continuing to work hard in  close cooperation with its brothers and sisters in Kenya to address the pressing issues  confronting both nations and the region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs .ind International Corporation of the Federal Republic of Somalia avails Itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya the assurances of iIts highest consideration.” Added the statement.

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Lawyers said the maritime boundary is along a parallel of latitude as was decreed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979.

Somalia says the boundary should be at an equidistant line and that Kenya’s oil exploration activities in the disputed area are unlawful.

In February 2017, Kenya lost the first round of the case to Somalia in its bid to stop the matter from going to full hearing. The court is yet to give a hearing date.

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