Kenya stands its ground in sea row with Somalia

Attorney-General Githu Muigai speaks during the launch of the 2017-2022 Legal Aid National Action Plan at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on December 18, 2017. He has said Kenya has not changed its position on the maritime border dispute with Somalia. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya has filed its response at the International Court of Justice in the Indian Ocean border dispute case filed by Somalia.

A statement from the Office of the Attorney-General Githu Muigai has said Kenya’s position is that the maritime border remains as it is and the dispute be solved through negotiations.

“This position is entrenched in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and several resolutions and decisions of the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted since 1964,” the statement said.

The Hague-based court is expected to give direction on the matter in early 2018. The court’s decisions are normally binding and final.

Somalia’s petition was filed on July 13, 2015.

It sought to have the maritime border redrawn to extend diagonally to the south at Kiunga into the sea, and not eastwards as it is.

Somalia sued Kenya in 2014 asking for proper determination of the sea boundary between the two countries and wanted it adjusted to give Mogadishu a huge chunk of the sea, which has oil deposits.

The area in contest is about 100,000 square kilometres and there are six oil blocks, which Somalia argues Kenya has awarded contracts to foreign prospecting firms for even though they “lie entirely or predominantly on the Somali side”.

Somalia is basing its arguments on Articles 15, 74 and 83 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which both countries ratified in 1989.

But Kenya submits that the maritime border with Somalia is as was decreed in the Presidential Proclamation of 1979.


The countries in 2009 reached a memorandum of understanding, which was then deposited with the UN in 2011.

Kenya maintains that all her activities, which include naval patrols, fishery, marine and scientific research as well as oil and gas exploration are within the maritime border established by Kenya and recognised and respected by both parties since 1979.

“Kenya is fully committed to protecting her boundaries in order to safeguard her territorial integrity,” the AG said.


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