(Hadalsame) 28 July 2023 – In a resolute stand, Somalia has declared its refusal to accept any mediation attempts concerning the longstanding maritime dispute with neighboring Kenya. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) had rendered a landmark decision on this contentious issue back in October 2021, yet the matter appears far from settled.
Somalia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ali Mohamed Omar, unequivocally asserted that his country is not negotiating with Kenya to resolve the dispute, dismissing any notion of third-party intervention.
The dispute, revolving around a 100,000 sq km triangle in the Indian Ocean believed to hold significant oil and gas reserves, has been a source of contention between the two nations for years. The ICJ’s ruling re-demarcated the sea border, favoring Somalia’s sovereignty and acknowledging most of its claims. As per the Court’s decisions, both countries must redefine their boundaries accordingly.
Recent reports surfaced regarding Kenya’s President, William Ruto, seeking assistance from Djiboutian President Omar Ismael Guelleh in brokering a deal between Somalia and Kenya. However, the Somali minister swiftly shut down any speculations of further negotiations, stating that the court’s verdict had resolved the matter conclusively.
Despite the apparent offer of mediation, Somalia emphasized that Djibouti had not approached them on the issue. And even if such attempts were made in the future, the country asserted it would steadfastly decline any overtures. Meanwhile, neither Kenya nor Djibouti has publicly addressed the claims.
With the ICJ’s ruling regarded as final and binding, the maritime dispute between Somalia and Kenya remains a sensitive issue that could have significant implications for both countries’ territorial rights and natural resource claims. As the nations grapple with the need to abide by the court’s decision, the dispute continues to be a critical point of concern in the region.