Somalia denies deal to share Indian Ocean resources with Kenya 50/50

Somalia has denied it has agreed to share Indian Ocean resources with Kenya, terming media reports in that regard as “baseless and untrue”.

“We are awaiting fair judgement by the International Court of Justice on the maritime dispute,” Deputy Prime Minister Mhadi Gulaid said on Wednesday.

Kenya’s the Star newspaper reported that Kenya and Somalia will equally share proceeds of oil and gas sales within the disputed maritime triangle in a deal brokered by Qatar.

“A redacted agreement between the two warring states exclusively seen by the Star shows the 50:50 sharing deal is expected to be signed in Doha soon. Qatar has a major interest in Italian international Oil giant Eni, which is carrying out explorations on some of the blocks in the disputed territory,” the Star reported.

The oil blocs reportedly sold to Qatari are said to be approximately 15,000 square feet with water depths ranging from about 1,000 metres to 3,000 metres.

A source familiar with the developments said Somalia might be denying the deal because it didn’t want it to get to the public before signing, pointing to a matter still under discussion.

Early May, Somalia has restored diplomatic relations with Kenya after mediation by the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani.

In a statement by the Ministry of Information, Somalia said it was resuming the relations “in keeping with the interests of good neighbourliness”.

On May 6, President Uhuru Kenyatta received a message from the Emir al Thani through his special envoy Mutlaq bin Majed al Qahtani.

Al Qahtani is the Special Envoy of Qatar Foreign Minister for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution.

On May 3, the special envoy also delivered a special message to Solaia President Mohamed Farmaajo in Mogadishu.

A statement by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said the message pertained to their bilateral relations and ways of enhancing and promoting them, “in addition to the recent political developments in Somalia, and the importance of achieving the national reconciliation in order to realize the stability of the country”.

Mogadishu severed ties with Nairobi on December 15, 2020, over claims of interference with its domestic politics, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said were unfounded.

Kenya had in March 2021 withdrawn from the ICJ case accusing it of bias.

Kenya objected to the presence on the ICJ panel of a Somali judge, saying he should recuse himself.

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