By John Kibet
Hopes of Kenya and Somalia reaching an out of court settlement over the ongoing maritime dispute hit a snag Thursday after Somalia president Mohammed Farmaajo rejected Kenya’s proposal to adopt dialogue in resolving the standoff.
Mr. Farmaajo used his inaugural address to the United Nations to pass Somalia’s stand on the issue, saying that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should be the ultimate arbiter because talks between the two countries had failed.
Mr Kenyatta while addressing the same sitting on his part said his country was open to dialogue and believed it was the best solution.
“I have always believed and stood my ground that dialogue is the best and amicable way for finding the best and positive solution. This brings us together as opposed to a conflict that pushes away from each other,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Kenya and Somalia have been engaged in a standoff over the maritime border at the Indian Ocean and Somalia has insisted that the case must be resolved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“We are very pleased that the court found that it had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute and that is scheduled for the final hearing for the merit case in November this year,” Mr. Farmaajo said.
Mr. Farmaajo added that Somalia, which is a member of the United Nations and a party of the Statute of the Court will comply with the court’s final judgement and accept the outcome on the boundary that is delimited by the court.
“We trust that when that judgement will be issued and the boundary established, a lasting settlement of this long-lasting dispute will finally be achieved. We are will abide by the court ruling,” he said.
Mr. Farmmajo’s address to the United Nations General Assembly was his first since he took office and it was seen as a good platform for him to play both local and foreign politics in regards to the dispute.
On Thursday, Media in Kenya reported that he had held talks with President Kenyatta but his statement played into the wishes of many Somali’s who had questioned Mr. Farmaajo’s commitment in defending Somalia’s sovereign borders.
Mr. Farmaajo also rejected a push by the African Union to give dialogue a chance but maintained that Somalia is committed to maintaining a good relationship with Kenya provided that the boundary is solved in court.