Kenya-Somalia tensions escalate as Mogadishu call off meetings in Nairobi

The government of Somalia will not attend meetings, workshops, seminars and trainings in Nairobi.

This emerged in a memo by the Ministry of Health and Human Resources to UN agencies, donors and international partners on Sunday, asking them to reschedule any meetings that were to be held in Nairobi.

“Due to recent travel issues to Nairobi, Kenya, the ministry informs all partners that representatives from the ministry will not be able to attend all planned and upcoming meetings, workshops, seminars and trainings to be held in Nairobi. The ministry highly encourages those events to be held inside the country or be held at alternative countries for ease of travel to ministry representatives,” Abdullahi Hashi Ali, the director-general at the ministry said.

This would mean that Somalia will not attend the ongoing UNHabitat conference in Gigiri, Nairobi.

Mogadishu’s latest move came after three senior government officials were denied entry visas in Nairobi despite holding diplomatic passports.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on Friday avoided transiting through Nairobi on his way to Pretoria for the swearing-in y of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa amidst diplomatic tension between the two countries.

The two countries have been feuding over the Indian Ocean maritime border since 2014, when Somalia took Kenya to the International Court of Justice.

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Somalia wants its sea border to extend the frontier line of its land border in a southeast direction, and bases its claim on the equidistance principle derived from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Kenya, on the other hand, argues the border follows along the parallel line of latitude directly east of its shared land terminus with Somalia.

The claims overlap contested legal regimes involving the continental shelf, the Exclusive Economic Zone, and extended continental shelf claims beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast.

Kenya has regarded the line parallel to the line of latitude as the border demarcation for almost 100 years. The line mimics the sea border maritime demarcation separating Tanzania and Kenya.

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