Why Kenya wants to postpone maritime dispute with Somalia in the Indian Ocean again

NAIROBI, Kenya – The ongoing coronavirus pandemic necessitated Nairobi’s decision to write to Mogadishu and the International Court of Justice about the impending maritime conflict in the Indian Ocean, some of the documents obtained by AxadleTM said in the latest request from dramatic postponement.

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Kenya and Somalia are expected to clash with the ICJ from June 8 to 12 this year for submissions on the controversial issue, which threatens to jeopardize their long diplomatic relations and mutual cooperation.

However, a letter sent to Somalia and copied to the ICJ dated April 23 by the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, calls on both parties to postpone the case due to the raging coronavirus pandemic, which has anchored most economic activities around the world.

The quest, according to Kenya, should be considered “urgent” for the sake of “stability” and on a “friendly” basis until the world comes up with a viable solution on how to deal with the pandemic, which is now his choice.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we therefore request a further postponement so that we can settle down as a country and continue the case when normalcy is reached in the coming months,” reads the letter, which said: since then sparked a heated debate. in Mogadishu.

As of Saturday, Nairobi had registered 830 cases of COVID-19 according to data obtained from the Ministry of Health. Of these cases, 301 have recovered and 50 have since died, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced at a press conference.

To minimize the spread, Uhuru also ordered a cessation of movement along the Kenya-Somalia and Tanzania borders, which will now last 30 days. But the transportation of goods across the two countries must continue, with drivers having to undergo tests, he added.

In Somalia, infections reached 1,377, the highest in the East and the Horn of Africa, with 55 deaths, the health ministry said on Saturday. The war-torn nation has also imposed a curfew from dusk to dawn in Mogadishu, which is most affected.

The ICJ has already postponed this thorny and conflicting affair twice. The court initially pushed him back from September of last year to November after Kenya expressed concerns about its legal team. Later, the case was postponed to June of this year to allow Nairobi to properly build its bench.

But in the November decision, the court insisted that “there will be no further postponement, each party must now submit documents to allow the judges to continue the case”. The president of the court is a Somali national.

Despite the urgent request, Somalia has indicated that it intends to continue the matter by videoconference, a move that could strike a blow at the request of the Kenyan authorities. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Guled insisted that “the matter must continue” as planned.

“The federal government of Somalia insists on the decision not to postpone the hearing on the maritime case for a virtual day for a single day,” said Guled, referring to statements that Nairobi believes that l the matter is postponed.

There have been informal discussions between the two nations for a possible friendly settlement, but during his visit to Kenya in November 2019, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said, “We are ready to face the court, he’s the best referee. ”

At the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, Uhuru had insisted on “resolving our problem with Somalia through dialogue”. The matter was so vicious that Nairobi decided to go after Mogadishu by suspending direct flights and withdrawing his envoy, although the matter was temporarily resolved.

The maritime border dispute began in 2014 after the two nations claimed a significant portion of the rich mineral deposits in the ocean. For long periods of time, officials in Kenya refused to dialogue with Somalia during the reign of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Somalia last week ordered an official tender for billions of dollars worth of oil in a venture that could revive the economy of the country still grappling with the ghosts of civil war and the threat from Al-Shabaab. The proposed deposits are not, however, among those disputed by Nairobi.


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