President Mohamed Farmaajo alongside Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed flew to Nairobi Tuesday evening for talks over the simmering row between Mogadishu and Nairobi in what could pave way for a negotiated settlement on the maritime dispute between the two countries.
Farmaajo’s trip to Nairobi came hours after talks with Ahmed whose office confirmed mediating the two countries following the recent fall out over the continuing maritime row. The Nairobi meeting also follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Ethiopia earlier in the week which extended to the Red Sea nation of Eritrea.
The Addis Ababa talks Wednesday according to both Villa Somalia and the Ethiopia PM focused on among others reconciliation between Kenya and Somalia. Ahmed who has been spearheading reconciliation talks among countries in the Horn of Africa is also the current chair of the regional body IGAD.
But even as the talks on addressing the diplomatic row in Nairobi kick off today, it has emerged that Somalia has maintained the only way to disposing of the maritime dispute is through the International Court of Justice where the case on the matter is currently pending.
In its response to the February 21 statement from Kenya which maintained earlier accusations against Somalia on the purported sale of oil blocks, Somalia reiterated its initial stance noting it did not touch any of the blocks within the disputed area during the February 7 trade meeting in London.
Somalia, in the February 25 letter termed accusations by Kenya’s Foreign Minister Monica Juma as ‘based on misunderstanding of facts’ and ‘deliberately misleading. From the response, Somalia ruled out any further engagement on the maritime issue noting the ICJ should be left to deliberate on it.
“..although the Government of Somalia disagrees with the Minister Juma’s characterization of the Parties’ maritime boundary dispute, this is not the proper occasion for addressing those issues. They are before the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and will be decided in due course consistent with international law,” Somalia said.