June 16, 2024

Kenya Roots for Diplomatic Solution After Losing Case on Border Dispute with Somalia,

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo during a past forum (Photo /Courtesy)

By Andrew Mwangura

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

ICJ has ruled largely in favor of Somalia in its long-running dispute with Kenya over their maritime dispute.

In 2009, the two countries had agreed in a Memorundam of Understanding backed by the UN to settle the boundary dispute through negotiation.

In 2012,  Somalia said Kenya was selling exploration licenses in the disputed zones to two multinationals.

And in 2019 five blocks in Lamu were part of those Somalia had floated to investors in London in 2019.

The ICJ ruling now has raised tensions between Kenya and Somalia who disagree over the delimitation of the maritime border of an area in the Indian Ocean that both claim. 

There is a real risk of escalation with serious economic and security implications.

This calls for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

A negotiated settlement is most preferred method for resolving the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute, and already President Uhuru Kenyatta has alluded to this in a statement issued after the ICJ verdict.

Section of the disputed marine border (Photo / Courtesy)

The only way out is Article 279 of the UNCLOS.

Article 279 of the UNCLOS obligates states parties…to settle dispute by peaceful means States Parties shall settle any dispute between them concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention by peaceful means.

That is in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3,of the Charter of the United Nations and,to this end, the parties shall seek a solution by the means indicated in Article 33,paragraph 1,of the Charter.

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