The International Court of Justice has postponed a hearing into Somalia and Kenya’s long-running maritime dispute by another 10 months following Kenya’s petition.
Both countries claim sovereignty of an area in the Indian Ocean that is thought to be rich in oil and gas.
A letter sent by the court to both parties and seen by BBC states that that the hearing scheduled for early June is now is delayed to 15 March 2021 due to the exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.
Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid told the BBC last week that his country objected to a new petition from Kenya asking to delay the hearing because of the virus outbreak.
Kenya said the pandemic had wreaked havoc on its economy and its plans to defend itself, according to documents sent to the court and seen by the BBC.
Somalia had asked the court to hold the hearing virtually using video technology.
Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister told the BBC that his government is not happy with the court’s decision, but will adhere to it.