Kenya-Somali-Maritime

AU chairperson urged to solve Kenya-Somali maritime dispute

APA-Nairobi(Kenya)

The African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) has urged the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki to facilitate dialogue between Kenya and Somalia in a bid to resolve the maritime boundary dispute between the two countries.

The security council has requested Faki to urgently make use of his good offices, either personally or through the appointment of a special envoy to engage with the parties towards finding an amicable and sustainable settlement, in consultation and collaboration with the relevant regional mechanisms.

“AU-PSC calls on the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of Kenya to pursue and intensify their engagements with a view to finding an amicable and sustainable solution to their maritime boundary dispute; in this regard, calls upon the parties to refrain from any action that may threaten the existing good neighborliness between the two countries,” read a communique issued at the end of the 873rd Council meeting in Addis Ababa.

The Security Council urged Faki to regularly report to Council on his efforts and the evolution of the situation.

Somalia filed the boundary delimitation dispute on August 28, 2014, before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) staking a claim on an estimated 62,000 square miles oil-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean.

Before the case was filed, bilateral negotiations had dragged on for six years without much success.

Somalia is seeking to redraw the maritime boundary from the current eastwards flow from the land border south of Kiunga, to a diagonal flow.

If the court agrees with Somalia, Kenya could lose up to 100,000km2 of sea thought to contain huge amounts of hydrocarbons.

Nairobi also accused Somalia of continuing to market oil stocks to investors even though the area is still contested. It accused Mogadishu of using illegal maps that encroached on the Kenyan side.

Mogadishu denies encroaching on Kenyan land.

In February, the Kenya-Somalia maritime territorial dispute escalated into a full-blown diplomatic war with Nairobi expelling the Somali ambassador and recalling its top envoy from Mogadishu.

According to insiders, Nairobi believes that oil and gas companies are fuelling the dispute, with some already taking strategic positions to join the race for exploration soon after the matter is dispensed with by the court.

Last month Kenya’s parliament tabled a motion calling for the deployment of the military to the contested Kenya-Somali maritime border. Nairobi according to sources is seeking to use all means necessary, including the military, to protect the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier this week, ICJ postponed the hearing of the maritime dispute case between the two countries for two months following a request by Kenya to the court asking for more time citing the need to recruit a new defence team.

The hearings that were scheduled for next week will now be held between November 4 and 8.


JK/abj/APA

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