Somalia rejects AU intervention of maritime border dispute with Kenya

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Somalia will not entertain any intervention by the African Union on the controversial maritime border row with Kenya, a top official said at a time the ICJ is expected to make a final decision on the maritime case after hearing it in March 2021.

Mohamed Abdirizak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said Mogadishu is not ready for an external intervention over the dispute, which is now being handled at the International Court of Justice [ICJ] and The Hague in the Netherlands.

According to him, Somalia has faith in ICU as “an independent arbiter which can settle the dispute without further hesitation”. He added: “We won’t allow the African Union to meddle in this dispute, we have faith in the international court.”

It’s not clear if the AU has been persuading Somalia to withdraw the case from ICJ but it’s certain that Kenya was pushing for an out-of-court settlement. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya mentioned as such during the United Nations conference, 2020.

In various instances, outgoing Somalia’s outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has also insisted that the country won’t allow any mediation outside the court. “We shall continue relating with Kenya well but we won’t allow any other mediation other than the court process.”

Further, Mohamed Abdirizak said the country will not allow “anyone else” to meddle in the case”. It was not clear who he was making references to but Kenya has also been reaching out to other friends and partners including IGAD over the matter.

Abdirizak further said: “Our relationship with Kenya remains normal, it shouldn’t be related to the current case at The Hague.” The two countries have been having a hot and cold relationship in the past two years, which was mainly triggered by the case.

The two east African neighbours dispute 100,000 square kilometers of territory in the Indian Ocean with prospects of vast oil and gas deposits.

Also, the strained relationship was triggered by Kenya Defense Forces [KDF] activities in Jubaland, where Somalia accuses it of interference as Farmaajo and Ahmed Madobe have been having long-standing political issues.

Somalia banned the importation of Khat from Kenya, something which has also worried local leaders from Nairobi. Kenya has often remained tight-lipped on strategies to mitigate the oil-rich Indian Ocean maritime border, but it had expressed intentions for mediation.