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Oil at the heart of diplomatic feud between Kenya and Somalia

Author: Fred Oluoch, The EastAfrican (Kenya), Published on: 10 June 2019

"Defiant Somalia puts contested oil block territory up for auction"

The diplomatic spat between Kenya and Somalia was poised to take a turn for the worse after leaked Somalia government documents showed that Mogadishu had put on auction offshore oil blocks in the contested territory off the Kenyan port of Lamu. Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment citing sensitivity of the matter.

Principal Secretary Michael Kamau said the Kenyan government was still digesting the possible consequences of Somalia’s action even as he asked the writer “to direct his questions to the source of the document.” Diplomatic relations between Kenya and Somalia have been on the rocks since late last year when it emerged that Somalia had held an oil exploration exhibition in London where oil blocks off the Kenyan coast were put up for auction. Kenya waded deeper into the controversy in May with an immigration stroke that blocked Somalia’s diplomats from attending an international conference in Nairobi...

The Somalia government says in the leaked February report titled Offshore Somalia 2019 that the country will exploit its petroleum resources effectively to achieve peace, stability and shared prosperity for all Somalis without damaging the environment. Somalia on February 7 exhibited seismic oil blocks data for potential buyers in London. The exhibition, which was reportedly sponsored by potential explorers, attracted furore from Nairobi. Kenya accused Somalia of including oil blocks in the disputed 100km Indian Ocean triangle in the exhibition, with the full knowledge that the dispute is before the International Court of Justice.

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