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Abdirahman Abdishakur: Monuments should be built to commemorate the ICJ victory

Monday October 11, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia presidential candidate and Wadajir party leader, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, said monuments should be erected to commemorate his government's role in saving Somalia's sea's.

While serving as Somalia's Minister of Planning during the government's transitional phase, Abdishakur signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kenya in April 2009 whereby both nation's acknowledged that there was an "area under dispute" but that neither country would contest their submissions when establishing their outer limits beyond 200 nautical miles.

When making their submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) demands non-objection because preparation of a country's claim for submission requires the cooperation of its neighbours.

Kenya interpreted the MOU as a legally binding document that compelled Somalia to resolve the dispute out of Court.

The MOU was wildly controversial at home, with Somali lawmakers voting to dismiss the MOU almost immediately as "non-actionable" overwhelmingly.

Negotiations between the two countries never gained any steam, with Somalia accusing Kenya of not taking the matter seriously and dragging its feet. In 2014, Somalia took the case to the international court, fearing that Kenya would argue that their 2009 MOU excludes the world court from having jurisdiction on the matter - which it eventually did.

The ICJ ruled that while the document was a valid international treaty, it did not preclude the Court from hearing the case. The MOU mentioned no specific dispute mechanism that falls under Kenya's reservation to the Court's jurisdiction.

Kenya has relentlessly pressured Somalia to resolve the dispute in an out-of-court settlement.

Abdirahman Abdishakur said that without the MOU he signed in 2009, Somalia's success in the case before the ICJ would not have been achieved today.

"In 2005, Kenya staked their claim to their territory, we objected in 2009. If we didn't object, their claim would have still been standing...If we were to stay quiet for 15 years, the statute of limitations to make a claim would have expired."

Abdishakur said that he feels that he will be vindicated when the ICJ rules in Somalia's favour. He said that he had been the subject of online ridicule for reasons many Somali's don't understand for over a decade.

"I forgive all the people who have spread lies about me. Many people called me a thief who hasn't even read the MOU. So many people have left politics because of the harassment."

After several delays, the ICJ is expected to render its verdict on Tuesday. However, Kenya's foreign ministry has preemptively announced that it would be withdrawing its recognition of the international court.

A government delegation led by Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Guled Khadar is currently in The Hague, the Netherlands.


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