CAJ News Agency (Johannesburg)

29 August 2014

Kenya: Somalia Takes Kenya to UN Court Over Indian Ocean Dispute

Nairobi — SOMALIA has taken Kenya to the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, over a boundary dispute in the Indian Ocean.

According to a press release by the court, Somalia has told the court that the two countries disagree about the location of the maritime boundary and that diplomatic negotiations have failed to resolve the dispute.

"Both states disagree about the location of the maritime boundary in the area where their maritime entitlements overlap", and that "diplomatic negotiations, in which their respective views have been fully exchanged, have failed to resolve this disagreement," states the ICJ press release.

Somalia has requested the Court "to determine, on the basis of international law, the complete course of the single maritime boundary dividing all the maritime areas appertaining to Somalia and to Kenya in the Indian Ocean, including the continental shelf beyond 200 [nautical miles]."

The applicant further asks the Court "to determine the precise geographical co-ordinates of the single maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean."

Somalia's petition to the international court could affect exploration activities currently ongoing offshore Kenya. Among the companies conducting exploration offshore is Pancontinental Oil and Gas which recently completed drilling at Sunbird 1 well offshore Kenya.

Pancontinental Oil and Gas announced in June 2014 that it had discovered the first ever oil column in the East African coast.

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