Namwamba in Mogadishu amid Uhuru-Farmajo fallout over Indian Ocean dispute

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Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire held talks in Mogadishu with Ababu Nawamba, the Chief Administrative Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo courtesy/via Twitter

Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba on Tuesday flew to Somalia amid ongoing Indian Ocean maritime dispute.

Mr Namwamba’s trip comes a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohamed Farmaajo differed on the direction the dispute should take, with Uhuru calling for dialogue.

The trip also comes a day after British High Commissioner Jane Marriott asked Somalia to drop the case at International Court of Justice, calling for negotiations.

“Somalia Prime Minister @HassanAKhaire meets Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief Adninistrative Secretary(CAS) @AbabuNamwamba in Mogadishu in what he says is a follow up to the New York talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta & @M_Farmaajo,” Radio Dalsan confirmed.

The former Budalang’i MP is currently in a high profile meeting with Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Ali, with the dispute being at the center of the negotiations.

Uhuru had opted for negotiations with the war torn country, insisting that Kenya prefers dialogue rather than hectic court process in International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Uhuru while congratulating Sudan and South Sudan for committing to a path of sustainable peace, challenged Somalia to consider dialogue and negotiation as an option for resolving the maritime border dispute currently before the ICJ.

“In the same spirit, my administration continues to reach out to Somalia in an effort to find an amicable and sustainable solution to the maritime boundary dispute between us,” he said.

“In this regard, I welcome the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council of 3rd September 2019 that urges both parties to engage.”

While Uhuru is for dialogue, President Mohamed Farmaajo insisted at the UN General Assembly last week that Mogadishu is comfortable with ICJ process.

“Our overall relations are excellent. Our maritime boundaries have never been delimiting. It’s our disagreement between the two sister states.

“We are happy that the ICJ found that it has jurisdictions to hear the case and it has scheduled it for November. Somalia as a member of UN, is keen to see this court settlement to its end,” he said.

The case was slated for September this year but Kenya requested for adjournment after changing the legal team.

ICJ has set November 6th to 8th as dates for submission from both parties.

But reports indicate that Nairobi has yet again applied for adjournment as Uhuru seeks to have the dispute settled through dialogue, an idea which Somalia has already rejected.

So thorny has been the maritime dispute that at one point, Kenya recalled her ambassador in Mogadishu.

On Wednesday last week, AU chairman Abdel Fattah organised a meeting between Uhuru and Farmaajo but it seems no agreement was reached.

In August, Majority Leader Aden Duale brought a motion to Parliament in which he seeks approval from MPs to have KDF troops deployed along the disputed Indian Ocean maritime border.

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