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Kenya breaths a sign of relief as the International Court of Justice postpones ruling on maritime boundary dispute with Somalia

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  • In a statement issued on Thursday night, ICJ agreed to delay its ruling on maritime boundary dispute between Kenya and Somalia.
  • Last month, Kenya asked for a delay by up to a year, saying it needed time to reconstitute a legal team.
  • ICJ latest decision is expected to at least lower diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Kenya has breathe a sigh of relief after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) agreed to delay its ruling on maritime boundary dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

In a statement issued on Thursday night, the Hague-based court said the decision was reached after Mogadishu and Nairobi agreed to send legal teams on the new agreed dates.

“The court has duly considered the views and arguments of the parties regarding Kenya’s request. It has decided to postpone oral proceedings to the week beginning on Monday 8, June, 2020. This postponement is granted on the understanding that both parties will be represented in the hearings and that no further postponement will be granted,” the statement reads.


The International Court of Justice at the Hague.


AFP

Last month, Kenya asked for a delay by up to a year, saying it needed time to reconstitute a legal team. Flat footed Kenya had complained that the November date was not enough for its legal team to prepare for the case.

The country’s Attorney General, suggested instead that September 2020 would be the ideal time for the ruling.

ICJ was, however, initially reluctant to postpone the ruling which was set for September 9-13, only pushing it to November 4-8.

Win for diplomacy



Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somali counterpart Mohammed Farmajo

This latest decision by the ICJ is expected to at least lower diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Last month, Egypt’s President Abdelfattah al-Sisi managed to broker the first face-to-face meeting between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somalian President Mohamed Farmaajo at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.



Egypt’s President Abdelfattah al-Sisi (M) with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Somalian President Mohamed Farmaajo (R).

The two heads of State agreed to normalize relations but fell short of a deal on the simmering maritime dispute.

In 2014, Somalia sued Kenya at the ICJ seeking to redraw the sea boundary between the two countries from the current straight line to a diagonal flow.

The disputed area of about 100,000km square is thought to contain hydrocarbons reserves.