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IGAD to hold summit on Kenya, Somalia maritime dispute

A crisis Summit of the Horn of Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will convene on 20 December in Djibouti to discuss the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia, Somalia’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok arrived at a decision to hold the Summit after emergency talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Sunday, PANA gathered.

Somalia’s foreign affairs ministry said the Summit in Djibouti will be held in response to the lawsuit filed by the Somali Government against Kenya, which has been submitted to the Sudanese Prime Minister as the Chair of the IGAD Summit.

Somalia moved to the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2014 to challenge Kenya over some 100,000 km square maritime territory along the Indian Ocean coastline which Kenyan officials have vowed never to let go.

Kenyan officials argue that the challenge brought about by Somalia has the possible effect of denying Kenya access to the sea and might also affect other countries sharing the Indian Ocean coastline.

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In its preliminary ruling, the ICJ rejected Kenya’s objection to the Court’s jurisdiction in the maritime case, saying it had automatic jurisdiction over the case.

Kenyan and Somali government officials signed a Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) in 2009 on how to resolve the dispute.

However, successive administrations in Somalia rejected the agreement.

The ICJ recognised the agreement between Kenya and Somalia over the disputed territory as legal and legitimate.

The Court, however, maintained that the MOU did not provide for a dispute resolution mechanism.

Kenya has been proposing that the two countries should form a joint commission to manage the economic resources available at sea on behalf of the two countries.

The dispute has also been previously referred to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council.

Meanwhile, President of the self-declared Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, arrived in Kenya on Sunday and is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, the Kenyan foreign ministry said.

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