Somalia Comes Out On Top In Sea Border Row With Kenya
The Hague, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Oct, 2021 ) :The UN's top court handed Somalia control of most of a potentially oil and gas-rich chunk of the Indian Ocean on Tuesday after a bitter legal battle with Kenya, which strongly rejected the ruling.
Kenya got only a small slice of the disputed tract of sea off the East African coast in the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta responded strongly, saying his government "rejects in totality and does not recognise the findings in the decision".
States can however go to the UN Security Council if another country fails to obey a ruling.
In a televised speech, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is widely known as Farmajo, said Nairobi should see the ruling as an "opportunity to strengthen the relationship of the two countries".
"The verdict was a fair indication of the transparency of the International Court of Justice," said Farmajo, adding that he had faced "political, diplomatic, security and economic pressure by the Kenyan leadership." But Kenyatta said that the ruling amounted to "a zero-sum game, which will strain the relations between the two countries".
"It will also reverse the social, political and economic gains; and potentially aggravate the peace and security situation in the fragile Horn of Africa Region," he added, reiterating Nairobi's support for a negotiated settlement instead.
At the heart of the Somalia-Kenya dispute was the direction that their joint maritime boundary should take from the point where their land frontiers meet on the coast.
Somalia insisted the boundary should follow the orientation of its land border and thus head out in a 200 nautical-mile line towards the southeast.
But Kenya said its boundary runs in a straight line due east -- a delineation that would have given it a big triangular slice of the sea.
Nairobi says it has exercised sovereignty over the area since 1979.
The contested area is believed to contain rich gas and oil deposits, and also has important fishing rights. Kenya has already granted exploration permits to Italian energy giant ENI but Somalia is contesting the move.