17 February 2019

Somalia: Govt Protests Kenya's Move to Kick Out Envoy, Denies Selling Oil Blocks in Disputed Area

Photo: allafrica.com
From left: Recalled Kenya's envoy to Somalia Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo and expelled Somali envoy to Kenya Mohamoud Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan.

Somali has protested a move by Kenya to order her ambassador out over Indian Ocean maritime border dispute, denies auctioning oil and gas blocks in disputed areas.

Instead, Somalia says they regretted the position taken by Kenya, maintaining that the bidding for the oil blocks in the disputed regions would not take place until the border dispute pending before the International Court of Justice was heard and determined.

'The government of Somalia regrets the recent statements made by the Government of Kenya alleging that the government of Somalia was bidding any blocks in Kenya's maritime zone to external bidders. Somalia is not offering, and does not have any plans to offer any blocks in the disputed maritime area until the parties' maritime boundary is decided by the International Court of Justice", read part of the stamen from the Foreign affairs Ministry.

It added ": Somalia wishes to reassure Kenya that it stands by its commitment not to undertake any unilateral activities in the disputed area until such a time that ICJ renders its judgment, Somalia will fully respect and comply with therewith"

Somalia also took issue with the Kenya's position that illegal maps were used in the plans to sell off the oil blocks.

"The long standing position reflects Somalia Government's duty to protect its sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity", read the statement.

The government also said it was committed to work in close corporation with Kenya to address the pressing issues affecting the two nations.

On Saturday Kenya expelled Somali Ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Nur . Kenya had claimed that that oil and gas blocks in disputed territorial areas were auctioned to the United Kingdom.

At the centre of the dispute is a narrow triangle on the Indian Ocean measuring 62,000 square miles. It is not yet clear to which country it belongs, but it is believed to hold large deposits of oil and gas.

Kenya insists the boundary runs parallel to the line of latitude and had already sold mining licenses to exploration companies in the area before the dispute blew up.

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