Somalia Trying To Assuage Spat With Kenya, Opens Itself Wide To Legal Disputes Over Borderline Areas


In an attempt to smooth ruffled, diplomatic feathers of the Kenyan government over Somalia’s reported auctioning of offshore oil blocks on the Indian Ocean over which both sides claim sovereignty, the Somalia Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation dug itself deeper into legal quagmire by using words that can be raised against it in a competent court of law.

In its own words, the Ministry wrote: “We note that the government of Kenya has characterized these maps as “illegal”. The maps in question depict Somalia’s claimed maritime zones and are entirely consistent with Somalia’s long-standing position, including its claim in the maritime delimitation case currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)”.

Twice in above two sentences, Somalia put its right to the areas it included in its demarcated offshore oil resources blocks in doubt. ‘The maps in question depict Somalia’s claimed’ – putting the word ‘claimed’ even in italics admit that its dispute over those areas are only ‘claims’. Claims can be proven wrong or right.

Again, the Somalia Foreign ministry uses the words ‘..including its claim in the maritime delimitation case’. Again, there is nothing more to its professed sovereignty over areas in question but another ‘claim’ – and claiming can work for sides in an argument.

The Kenyan letter, in contrast, puts nothing in doubt. Kenya never puts its right to the areas in dispute in doubt, believing that they are part and parcel of the resources of Kenya and its people and, therefore, worthy of defending them with all resources available, including military action if need be.

“..unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources,” the Kenya Foreign Ministry statement declares. No diluted words, no fumbling, no uncertainties anywhere.

The Kenyan position was crystal clear right from the first paragraph: ‘..a regretful and egregious decision by the Government of Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders Somalia‘.

Kenya does not stop there. It, in the heat of the moment, uses inordinately strong words against two of its more steadfast ‘friends’ in the west: the United Kingdom and Norway. The foreign affairs ministry letter tells the world what Kenya thinks of them: “It is particularly egregious that the Government of Somalia has chosen to dismiss these years of commitment to the people of Somalia by seeking to auction Kenyan sovereign resources to the highest predatory bidders from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Kingdom of Norway among others,” Kenya, so untypically, so undiplomatically attacks.

In fact, it appears that Somalia has lost the bout before it has entered the ring.



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