Thabo Mbeki visits Mogadishu to defuse tension between Somalia & Kenya

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A high-level delegation led by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki touched down in Mogadishu, the Somali capital on Saturday morning, July 20.

Mbeki was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad and the UN Special envoy in Somalia, James Swan at the capital’s Aden Adde International airport.

The AU delegation is holding a meeting with the top Somali government leaders, including, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled and UN and AU officials.

Mbeki who served as the second president of South Africa 1999-2008 has been a powerful figure in African politics and promoting the idea that African political conflicts should be solved by Africans.

The visit comes as Kenya and Somalia are in deadlock over ownership of the 162,579 sq km triangle of disputed maritime territory in the Indian Ocean thought to contain huge amounts of hydrocarbons.

For years, Nairobi has been avoiding taking the dispute to the International Court of Justice, asking Somalia to resolve it bilaterally, but, ICJ, however, rejected Kenya’s petition, ordering a full-court hearing.

However, the hearing of the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia will start on September 9 and run through to September 13 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands.