Mon, Feb 18, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Kenya pulls envoy from Somalia amid dispute over border

AFP, NAIROBI

Kenya on Saturday recalled its ambassador from Somalia for “urgent consultations” over a maritime border dispute that involves lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits.

“The summons is a consequence of a most regretful and egregious decision by the government of Somalia to auction off oil and gas blocks in Kenya’s maritime territorial area that borders Somalia,” the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The “unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya” had taken place at an auction in London on Feb. 7 and would “not go unanswered,” it said.

The UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, has been hearing a case Somalia brought against Kenya about the dispute.

Nairobi previously unsuccessfully argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case.

Mogadishu’s case against Nairobi focuses on an attempt to redraw the sea border, which would affect at least three of Kenya’s 20 offshore oil blocks.

Somalia says talks have failed to resolve the spat. A final outcome would significantly impact a new source of revenue for either of the east African neighbors.

Somalia, which lies north of Kenya, wants to continue the frontier along the line of the land border, in a southeast direction, but Kenya wants the border to head out to sea in a straight line east, along the parallel of latitude, giving it more sea territory.

The disputed triangle of water is believed to hold valuable deposits of oil and gas in a part of Africa only recently found to be sitting on significant reserves.

Kenya has already awarded three oil blocks in the area to Italian energy company Eni SpA.

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