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Deeq A.

Maritime Dispute Exposed Somalia’s Political Vulnerabilities

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Deeq A.   

With the maritime dispute between Somalia and Kenya over, Somalis are making sense of the judgement and the belated admission of leadership failure by the troika — former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, former Prime Minister Omar A. Sharmarke and former Minister Abdirahman Abdishakur. None of them has apologised for giving Kenya a chance to lay claim on a part of Somalia’s maritime territory.

Let us not forget that the Memorandum of Understanding contained a sentence that showed that the leaders of the Transitional Federal Government had not read the text. “The claims of the two coastal States cover an overlapping area of the continental shelf which constitutes the area under dispute” reads the MoU.

IMG-20211018-WA0001.jpg?resize=1000%2C56Sharmarke (left), Abdishakur (middle) and former President Sharif have not apologised for endangering Somalia’s national interest.

What Abdishakur Abdirahman signed is a document that accepts Kenya’s claim that a maritime territory of Somalia’s belongs to Kenya . It is noteworthy that the 2009 Transitional Federal Government was led by the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia. The nationalist fervour gave way to a treasonous act that cost Somalia a part of its maritime territory.

Abdirahman Ibbi, in an interview, incorrectly claimed that the MoU prevented Somalia from having its maritime territory run by UN the “way Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former UN Secretary General let the UN run the airspace of Somalia in 1993.” In 1993 Somalia did not have a national government. Ibbi was a member of ARS and also a minister when Abdishakur signed the MoU. In March the former Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir made a similar comment to the effect that the MoU signed by Abdishakur had boosted Somalia’s case. Several nights ago Abdishskur said that he never suspected something was wrong with MoU when the “Prime Minister instructed me to sign it.”

Why did a transitional government sign an MoU on sea in the first place? Sharmarke said that Kenya had taken advantage of Somalia after the two countries signed an MoU and that Norway drafted the MoU. Ibbi corroborated the role of Norway but neither he nor Sharkmarke explained why Somalia agreed to sign MoU drafted by a country that had offshore drilling interests in Kenya.

20211018_003155.jpg?resize=834%2C469&sslIbbi: “Without the MoU the United Nations would run Somalia’s maritime territory.”

“While the two coastal States have differing interests regarding the delimitation of the continental shelf in the area under dispute, they have a strong common interest with respect to the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, without prejudice to the future delimitation of the continental shelf between them” the MoU reads. Which country legally owns “the area under dispute”?

Before 2009, there was no a maritime area of Somalia’s that Kenya claimed. The MoU gave Kenya an advantage: the ARS-dominated TFG sleepwalked into an unnecessary maritime dispute. The risk of similar political naivety railroading Somalia into questionable agreement still exists. The Federal Government of Somalia signs agreements despite maintaining no coercive powers throughout sovereign Somalia. It is largely dependent upon AMISOM.

Kenya, a key member of troop-contributing countries, has rejected the International Court of Justice’s ruling, which, in the eyes of an expert who spoke to Puntland Post on the condition of anonymity, struck a meticulous balance between the two countries’ competing claims. “Somali political leaders could repeat the maritime dispute. Political accountability is in short supply in Somalia” said Mohamud Ali, a political analyst in Garowe.

Ali proposes a moratorium on agreements signed by the Federal Government of Somalia with foreign countries. “If this smacks of emasculating federal legislatures, the sub-national legislatures must be granted an oversight on agreement initiatives before the government signs them with a foreign country” said Ali. Political vulnerabilities exposed by the maritime dispute with Kenya still cripple good governance in Somalia.

© Puntland Post, 2021

The post Maritime Dispute Exposed Somalia’s Political Vulnerabilities appeared first on Puntland Post.

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