Our maritime resources are not negotiable – UM

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) – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo made a surprise visit to Addis Ababa today to hold bilateral talks with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. President Farmajo and his media team claim that both leaders discussed how to strengthen bilateral relations and to take forward the regional cooperation initiative. This is good and is welcome by the Somali people although this is the second time this kind of meeting has happened this year. What worries the Somali people is that President Farmajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister will be going to Nairobi to meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta to hold a tripartite agreement to discuss the recent diplomatic issues between Somalia and Kenya.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is working hard to reconcile the region starting with his own country’s relations with Eritrea and this may win him a Noble Peace Prize. However, a misjudged and rushed agreement or understanding with Kenya on our maritime affairs will be disastrous for President Farmajo and Somalia.

President Farmajo should go to Kenya but he must not be bullied into feeling guilty about doing anything wrong. Kenya is openly attempting to steal our maritime territory and hiding behind the disguise of a good neighbour who deserves something for helping a poor neighbor during hard times. Neighbors should help each other unconditionally because they share a common future of risk and opportunity but a neighbour must never transgress into another’s property. This is what Kenya is trying to do with the Somalia sea.

Somalia has been threatened by Kenya over the last month with the Foreign Minister Monica Juma saying that nations have gone to war for less. Well, Somalia is strong, proud and united in its defence of all its territories. President Farmajo must go to Nairobi with this in mind and as the centre of his ideas. Somalia and Kenya have cooperated and must cooperate for security and economic prosperity and play a role in connecting the Horn of Africa for the benefit of its people’s. However, Prime Minister Abiy must understand that it is Kenya that needs to rethink its position on Somalia and not Somalia on its maritime claims. If the cost of friendship with Kenya is the loss of maritime territory, then it is better to not be friends at all.

Kenya’s diplomatic act of sending back Somalia’s Ambassador for consultations and returning theirs for the same reason is diplomatically devious and not what Somalia expected from a so-called strategic partner. The situation remains the same and it can be this way until Kenya becomes mature enough to understand that its political bullying is wrong and no country would give up an inch of their soil and sea for anything, including bilateral relations. Kenya should be honourable enough to know that it is in the wrong and should have apologised for its undiplomatic actions. If anything, President Uhuru should have come to Somalia to reconcile with President Farmajo. Somalia is as important to Kenya as Kenya is important to Somalia.

The Somali people expect President Farmajo to stand up to his Kenyan counterpart tomorrow. Somalia is a loyal friend of Kenya but it will not be bullied, insulted or threatened. This must be President Farmajo’s message to President Uhuru, Prime Minister Abiy and to the watching world. The Somali people stand by their President in this struggle for their maritime future and their dignity. Somalia will not give away an inch of its territory because to do so would be a betrayal of it’s people and the generations to come.