Somalia denies Kenya’s oil, gas claims

Amid a simmering border row with Kenya, that has seen the expulsion of ambassador Mohamoud Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan from the country, Somalia has issued a statement denying the allegations raised against it.

The statement was issued on February 17 after a Mogadishu meeting of top officials including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.

Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Somalia regretted that Kenya expelled the ambassador without consulting it.

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Somalia’s response was to Kenya’s note verbale on February 8 on maritime zones presented at the Somalia Oil and Gas Conference on February 7, in London, the United Kingdom.

The country denied that the maps were illegal, saying, “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 with Kenya, currently before the International Court of Justice.”

The ministry noted that this position reflected its duty to protect its “sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity”.

Regarding allegations that it auctioned oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders it, the Somalia ministry said it was not doing so and that it did not have any such plans.

“Somalia is not now offering, not does it have any plans to offer, any blocks in the disputed maritime area until the parties’ boundary is decided by the ICJ,” the statement said.

Somalia promised Kenya that it will not engage in any activities in the areas under dispute until the court delivers its judgment.

And when it does, the ministry said, “Somalia will fully respect [the decision’] and comply”.

Regarding the two countries’ people, Somalia noted that they are “indissolubly interconnected” and that they share strong cultural and historical ties, ties which it noted it did not want broken.

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