Kenya’s push to have its maritime boundary case against Somalia withdrawn has been ignored by the Somalia government.
Kenya wanted the case that was to be heard next week, in which Mogadishu sued Nairobi at the ICJ seeking to change the course of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean, withdrawn or deferred to allow African Union (AU) to help offer an out of court solution.
Kenyan diplomats had written to African Union telling the body to convince Somalia to agree to solve their differences out of court in a meeting that was to take place on August 22, but the request was rejected by Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Ahmed Isse Awad.
Mr. Awad wrote back to the AU declining to attend the proposed meeting and saying that his country had agreed to accept the court’s judgment, whatever the outcome.
“Somalia regrets to inform the Commission that it would not be appropriate for it to accept the Commission’s invitation to attend the Peace and Security Council meeting to be held on August 22, 2019 to brief the PSC on the maritime dispute as the matter is currently pending before the ICJ,” read part of Mr. Awad’s letter to AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki.
While diplomats in Nairobi had for a long time avoided the conflict topic, Somalia’s response to the AU confirms Nairobi’s bid to have the case delayed by the ICJ.
The diplomats say that Nairobi has been of the opinion that the case in court be stopped as it could heighten the already fickle peace and security situation at its borders and reopen boundary debates on the East African coast.
As the two countries await the court’s hearing next week, analysts feel like the environment is already poisoned as both countries are involved in titfer games, where Kenya feels like they have been of great help to Somalia and therefore the case is a stab on Kenya’s back. Somalia, on the other hand, feels like much as Kenya has been of help, they (Kenya) have been treating Somalia condescendingly.
Kenya had vowed to ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect its boundaries, including sending its troops to the boundaries, to which Somalia parliament also vowed to counter the threat.
In the case set to begin next week, a total of seven and a half hours will be given to each country to argue their case. Somalia will go first on Monday and Thursday while Kenya will be given a chance on Wednesday and Friday.