Kenya Says will engage with Somalia over Border dispute

Kenya has on Thursday announced its doors were open to engage with the Federal Government of Somalia over the current diplomatic row but also alleged Mogadishu to be misleading the world.

Following a cabinet meeting on Thursday chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said its government is waiting for a response that meets the minimum threshold from the Somali government over the disputed oil blocks in the Indian Ocean.

“The Government of Somalia is deliberately misleading the world,” Ms Juma told reporters during a press conference in Nairobi.

“The action of offering oil blocks also contradict the commitment belt to the court. Not to undertake any activities unilaterally,” she adds.

Map of oil blocks

Juma said though Somali had issued a statement disputing the claims raised, it is clear they did not deny the existence of a map that depicts the claimed oil blocks were on the Kenyan territory.

“We have noted with concern Somali’s intention and plan to auction the oil blocks before January 2020 which is the effective date for sharing between the two countries,” Juma said.

She added, “Kenya’s position over this matter is inevitable and we shall not cede even an inch of our territory to anyone.”

Last weekend, Kenya recalled its Somalia ambassador and instructed the Somali envoy in Nairobi to leave for consultations.

Nairobi alleges Mogadishu auctioned oil and gas blocks belonging to Kenya during February 7 London Conference.

After Somali ambassador could not give clear explanations about the claim of auction of oil and gas by Somalia, Juma said, Kenya was forced to recall her ambassador in Mogadishu for consultation even as it requested Mr Tarsan, the Somali envoy to go back to his country to get the response Kenya wanted.

“From February 9 to date is an inordinate long-time to get the response we want. It is the reason why we called our ambassador for more consultation in Nairobi,” the CS said.

Somalia rejects claims

Somalia government has rejected Kenya’s claim of auctioning gas and oil blocks belonging to Kenya.

A letter addressed to Kenyan Foreign Affairs Ministry, Somalia highlighted that it was not 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 International Court of Justice.
Foryears, Kenya and Somalia have argued over where their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.

In 2014, the case was referred to the International Court of Justice in The Hague after Somalia sued Kenya.

The case has been ongoing since then.

But on Thursday, Juma said though there is a pending court case at the ICC over the dispute, Somali’s move under claims of protecting its potential maritime space from external users is a clear indication it does not recognise the boundaries.

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