Ethiopia must not enter Somali maritime affairs – UM

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President Farmajo held bilateral talks with Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed on 5 March in Addis Ababa during his state visit in the country. Photo/ Villa Somalia

Mogadishu (UM) – Rumours went viral across Somalia that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wanted to mediate between Somalia and Kenya on the maritime dispute currently with the International Court of Justice. This rumour was exacerbated by reports in the Kenyan media that there could be a possible meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Kenyatta in Addis Ababa on this issue which infuriated the Somali people. Thankfully, these rumours were crushed by a statement from the Director of Communication of the Presidency Abdinur Mohamed Ahmed who said this was fake news and that Somalia stands firm by its maritime defence against Kenya. This statement came at the right time with the right strongly worded message. The rumours of a settlement were malicious and worst example of fake news in Somalia at a sensitive time in the case of the sea dispute against Kenya. What the Communications Director could not say but the Somali people feel is this: Ethiopia should focus on its own big problems at home and not transgress into Somali maritime affairs, no matter how good the intention.

The fight for Somalia’s maritime future is one that must be seen through to the end without hesitation. No President, Prime Minister or even powerful donor, including the USA, can distract the Somali people from the attempted daylight robbery of their sea by Kenya. There is, and can never be, no way of justifying any negotiations, anywhere in the world and by absolutely anybody when it comes to the case of the sea. Kenya should be ashamed of itself for trying to rob a weak neighbor at a vulnerable time of recovery and not play the victim card in the international forums. The international community must also stop giving Kenya false hope that their attempted robbery of Somali waters will be entertained with mediation. This will never be accepted by the Somali people.

The Somali government must learn from this fake news experience which almost caused a political crisis yesterday. Alongside the legal defence of the case, the Somali government and media must work together to teach the people about their maritime heritage, rights and how they can benefit from it and protect it. Emotions are not enough,! Education, advocacy and unity are important to defend Somalia’s strategic maritime assets which will benefit the Somali people and the world if used well. The Somali Foreign Ministry must wake up from its deep sleep and lead the fight to influence the world on Somalia’s rights at sea and not allow Kenya to sell its self as a victim to the point where our sea could be unjustly shared or illegally taken.