Somalia accuses Kenya of oil search in disputed maritime boundary

KENYATTA

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya

25 September 2016, Nairobi –  Somalia says Kenya continued with oil-exploration activities in the disputed area of the Indian Ocean even after Mogadishu sued over the matter at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Somalia’s senior presidential legal adviser Mona Al-Sharmani told the court on Friday that Kenya’ Ministry of Energy and the National Oil Corporation publicly announced plans to issue licenses in spite of the ongoing tussle over the sea border in the oil-rich Indian Ocean region.

Ms Al-Sharmani rebutted Kenya’s assertions that it had suspended any activities in the area following the start of negotiations that failed before Somalia took the case to the ICJ in The Hague.

“This is news to Somalia. We had never previously been told that that was the case,” Ms Al-Sharmani told the court presided over by French Judge Ronny Abraham.

Somalia was referring to an argument by Kenya’s Attorney-General Githu Muigai on Wednesday that it had suspended any prospecting in the disputed area as a sign of readiness to negotiate a solution

EXPLORATION LICENCES

“Kenya has voluntarily suspended its transitory exploratory activities in the disputed area as an expression of its good faith. In May, we invited Somalia to enter into provisional arrangements pending an agreement on the maritime boundary,” Prof Muigai argued on Wednesday.

“We remain open to discussing these arrangements with Somalia,” he added.

But in a battle between the two countries on whether the court should hear or drop the case, Somalia says Kenya’ assertions were untrue.

On Friday, Somalia argued that in 2012, Kenya issued exploration licences to reputable oil firms for six oil blocks that both sides claim to be in their territory. At the time, Somalia says Kenya conducted two seismic surveys in the area.

  • Daily Nation
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