Kenya reaffirms commitment to peaceful resolution of row with Somalia

Kenya reaffirms commitment to peaceful resolution of row with Somalia

The Kenyan government has warned that it will not cede an inch of its soil in the disputed maritime border with Somalia even as it affirmed that it is committed to a peaceful resolution of the row.

At a Cabinet meeting at in Nairobi Thursday, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the government made the decision that was communicated by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr Monica Juma in a press briefing.

MARINE RESOURCES

The Cabinet also discussed and agreed on a roadmap for resolving the maritime border dispute with Somalia and measures for safeguarding Kenya’s territorial integrity, marine resources including offshore oil and gas exploration acreage in the Indian Ocean.

Addressing the media at a city hotel after a closed-door session with members of the Defence and Foreign Relations committee of the National Assembly Thursday afternoon over the dispute, Dr Juma said the response given by Somalia does not meet Kenya’s expectations.

“We sent a protest to Somalia on February 9, when we got to learn that Somalia’s ministry of Petroleum and Minerals had offered the blocks for auction in London,” Dr Juma said in the company of her Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau.
“We first called Somalia’s ambassador to explain what the actions of his government were. He said he did not have the information prompting us to send him to his country to get the information we wanted. When he came back, he said he did not have the information,” she said.

At this time, Kenya was forced to recall her ambassador in Mogadishu for consultation even as it requested Mr…….to go back to his country to get the response Kenya wanted.

“From February 9 to date is an inordinate long-time to get the response we want. It is the reason why we called our ambassador for more consultation in Nairobi,” the CS said.

COLONIAL BOUNDARIES

Kenya’s comprehensive response to attack on her sovereignty by Somalia includes withdrawal of the claims over the area, cancel the auctions and recognise the colonial boundaries.

But even as Kenya stressed her unyielding position, the Nation has learnt that the bidding process for the oil and gas blocks in the disputed waters is already underway in London, England and is expected to close in September.

The winning bidder will however be announced in December in London.

According to Dr Juma, Somalia is deliberately misleading over its recent response in which it denied ever auctioning blocks- 230, 231, 232 and 233 that she said are clearly marked and titled within the Kenyan waters.

An observation of Somalia’s response did not however, deny the complaints raised by Kenya.

To a greater extent, it asserted Kenya’s position that the neighbouring country does not recognize the maritime boundary that has been in place for the last 40 years in line with the Anglo Italian treaty of 1964 that delineated the border.

The treaty would be followed by the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) renamed Africa Union general assembly of 1964 that preserved all the colonial boundaries.

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