Amid a simmering border row with Kenya, that has seen the expulsion of ambassador Mohamoud Ahmed Nur alias Tarzan from the country, Somalia has issued a statement denying the allegations raised against it.
The statement was issued on February 17 after a Mogadishu meeting of top officials including President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.
Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Somalia regretted that Kenya expelled the ambassador without consulting it.
However, the ministry said Kenya instructed Mr Nur “to depart” and via Twitter on Sunday, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau wrote, “FYI For the record we did not ‘recall’ our Ambassador nor ‘expel’ Somalia’s. We summoned ours for consultations and asked that theirs departs for consultations on their side so that we can resolve this matter with credible and correct information from both sides [sic].”
Somalia’s response was to Kenya’s note verbale on February 8 on maritime zones presented at the Somalia Oil and Gas Conference on February 7, in London, the United Kingdom.
The country denied that the maps were illegal, saying, “The maps in question depict Somalia’s claimed maritime zones and are entirely consistent with Somalia’s long-standing position, including its claim in the maritime delimitation case with Kenya, currently before the International Court of Justice.”
The ministry noted that this position reflected its duty to protect its “sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity”.
Regarding allegations that it auctioned oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders it, the Somalia ministry said it was not doing so and that it did not have any such plans.
“Somalia is not now offering, not does it have any plans to offer, any blocks in the disputed maritime area until the parties’ boundary is decided by the ICJ,” the statement said.
Somalia promised Kenya that it will not engage in any activities in the areas under dispute until the court delivers its judgment.
And when it does, the ministry said, “Somalia will fully respect [the decision’] and comply”.
Regarding the two countries’ people, Somalia noted that they are “indissolubly interconnected” and that they share strong cultural and historical ties, ties which it noted it did not want broken.
Somalia, plagued by economic instability due to a civil war and decades without a proper government, as well as the activities by terror group Al-Shabaab, said it will continue to cooperate with its neighbours in addressing their problems and those the region faces.
Earlier on Sunday, National Super Alliance principal Musalia Mudavadi told Kenyans to stand with their government on the matter of the border row, as opposed to being bipartisan, noting Kenya bears the brunt of the instability in the neighbouring country.
The Amani National Congress leader also asked the international community to intervene, saying the matter is serious so it must not escalate.
“This is not a matter to be taken lightly because we have a history. Clearly, from a patriotic and national viewpoint, this matter should be tackled carefully and urgently … the international community should not take it for granted,” he said after a service at House of Grace along Lang’ata Road in Nairobi.
He noted that Kenya and Somalia have have not had a pleasant history where boundary agreements are concerned.