Mogadishu and Nairobi have exchanged diplomatic tiff on Saturday after Kenya had recalled its envoy from Somalia and asked his counterpart to return back to his country.
“The summons is a consequence of a most regretful and egregious decision by the government of Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area,” the foreign ministry said
Kenya media reported that the Somalia ambassador in Nairobi, Mohamud Nor Tarzan, was allegedly expelled, but that claim was on Sunday evening denied by Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its Twitter handle.
“FYI (did) For the record we did not ‘recall’ our Ambassador nor ‘expel’ Somalia’s. We summoned ours for consultations and asked that theirs departs for consultations on their side so that we can resolve this matter with credible and correct information from both sides,” Macharia Kamau, the Principal Secretary said.
The quick response was necessitated by a meeting of senior Somali officials led by the president Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Kheyre. Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Somalia regretted that Kenya expelled the ambassador without consulting it.
In order to resolve the issue and to resume the diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries Kenya has listed three conditions.
“Nairobi wants Mogadishu to immediately withdraw a map, which was displayed at an economic forum in the United Kingdom, claiming part of Kenya’s territory,” Macharia Kamau, the Principal Secretary said.
Kenya has also demanded that Somali authorities inform those who bought oil and gas blocks at the London auction that the Horn of Africa nation doesn’t own the area.
Kenya also wants a maritime discussion between the two nations to arrive at an amicable solution outside the international court. Some analysts in this matter suggested that the condition by Kenya that both countries should solve the maritime dispute outside ICJ shows that Kenya has realized that it may lose the court case against Somalia and the expected decision will be a win for Somalia.
Conversely, Mogadishu denied selling part of the disputed section of the sea to inventors at the London summit on Feb. 07, 2019.
“Somalia is not now offering, nor does it have any plans to offer, any blocks in the disputed maritime area until the parties’ maritime boundary is decided by the ICJ,” stated a letter from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to the Kenyan Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Former Kenya Vice President and opposition leader, Musalia Mudavadi accused Somalia of preempting the verdict of the international court when, he said, it sold blocks of the disputed sea to international firms.
“Kenya was already in the international community with Somalia on the issue of the boundary in the sea. Before that matter is resolved, Somalia seems to be going ahead to unilaterally allocate prospecting rights in terms of oil blocks in the sea. Why is this so?”
“I simply urge all Kenyans not to be bipartisan on this, let us stand with the government of Kenya to protect the integrity of the boundaries as recognized by the international community,” Mudavadi added.
He echoed the opinion of several other Kenyan leaders, who supported Nairobi’s stance on the dispute.
However, Daily Telegraph’s Adrian Blomfield said, “I’ve spoken to my colleague who was at the Somalia conference. He said there was no auction, but a map was shown of oil and gas blocks the Somali government intends to auction in future, some of which may be in dispute waters claimed by Kenya.”