Somalia Denies Kenyan Claim of Maritime Deal to Resolve Ethiopia Tensions

Published: April 12, 2024

Somalia has firmly rejected claims by a senior Kenyan official that a maritime agreement among countries in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been proposed to ease tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia over the latter’s violation of Somali sovereignty.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Dr William Ruto president of republic of Kenya

Ali Omar Balad, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs dismissed the purported plan as “non-existent and baseless,” emphasizing that Somalia insists on the unity of its territory.

“Reports of a maritime treaty involving Somalia and Ethiopia are completely unfounded. Somalia stands firm on its territorial integrity. We call for a focus on peace and stability in the region.” Balad stated.

The denial comes after Korir Sing’oei, Kenya’s Foreign Secretary, told Reuters that a maritime agreement facilitated by Kenya was being discussed within IGAD. The proposed deal aimed to provide landlocked Ethiopia with “stable and predictable access to maritime resources” while respecting Somalia’s territorial integrity.

Sing’oei claimed the agreement, also known to Djibouti, would allow landlocked states in the region to access commercial ports by sharing marine resources among IGAD members with coastlines, primarily Somalia and Djibouti.

The alleged maritime deal surfaced after Ethiopia announced on January 1 that it had acquired a 20-kilometer (12-mile) coastline stretch from Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, in exchange for potential recognition. This move drew strong condemnation from Somalia and raised concerns about further destabilization in the Horn of Africa.

Somalia, which boasts Africa’s longest coastline, has reiterated its commitment to maintaining its territorial integrity and promoting regional peace and stability.

The conflicting statements highlight the ongoing tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia, with Somalia rejecting any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or territorial claims.

As the situation unfolds, regional stakeholders and the international community are closely monitoring developments, hoping for a peaceful resolution that respects the sovereignty of all nations involved while addressing the concerns of landlocked states’ access to maritime trade routes.