MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somalia’s federal government should blame persistent delay in maritime dispute with Kenya before International Court of Justice, said former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, just hours after court case postponed The Hague.
Four out of four years, the two neighbors compete for a long part of the Indian Ocean, which is said to be rich in oil blocks, which are now claimed by the two parties, a decision which has partly strained their relations.
On Tuesday, the ICJ postponed the case for the third time in eight months in favor of Kenya, a decision which has now annoyed Mohamud, whose administration initiated the case in The Hague after talks with Kenya had ended sometimes collapsed in 2015.
At a press conference, Mohamud criticized FGS for the unprecedented delay, arguing that the Mogadishu administration had done little to push the case to completion, even though it has been in court since almost five years now.
The Somali administration, he noted, “lied” to the public about the state of the case. According to him, the delay is only taken into account when two parties reach a consensus, a complete contrast to the current scenario in The Hague.
“The Indian Ocean maritime dispute is at the stage where we left it four years ago. The hearing of the case was delayed three times, “said the former president, who lost to Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in 2017 in a highly contested poll.
“Whenever there has been a delay, the government comes and says it is against the delay, but has never shared any evidence,” added Sheikh Mohamud while accusing the administration of ‘be “mean” to the news.
He called for the speedy conclusion of the case, arguing that it is only through the judicial mechanism that the country can hope to obtain “fair justice”. The FGS, he added, “has failed to protect the territorial integrity of Somalia in accordance with the constitution”.
Right after the announcement of the delay, Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled accused the court of dragging the case but added that “we will respect what they want to do even if we do not agree with them” .
Reports from the Netherlands indicate that the case was postponed after the court assessed a request made by Kenya due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the April 23 petition, Nairobi argued that “the current plague cannot allow us to have a solid legal battle” on the issue.
The case will now be heard from March 15 to 19, 2021. Initially, the court postponed the case from September to November last year before bringing the case to June 2020 after Kenya cited many challenges among them. , the composition of its legal team.
Although Nairobi is keen to comment on the issue, there have been separate campaigns to push for an amicable settlement with Somalia, a decision which the Mogadishu administration is not, however, ready to accept.
In previous outings, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has openly called for “dialogue” to end the emerging issues with “our neighbors”, but his calls have yet to be answered. He made such proposals during Farmajo’s visit to Nairobi in November 2019.
The disputed segments are said to be rich in oil blocks and Kenya suspects that Somalia has sold sections to the highest bidders.
While acknowledging the rental of petroleum deposits, the country’s Minister of Natural Resources, Ahmed Mohamed, recently said that the auctioned fields were far from the disputed coastline.