On Somalia, UN Belated Admits Rejections of its MOU With Kenya

Inner City Press
Matthew Russell Lee
Monday, March 15, 2010

By UNITED NATIONS, March 15 -- A UN-promoted joint Law of the Sea filing by Kenya and those Somalis the UN works with, about Somalia's offshore rights, has finally been acknowledged by the UN as rejected by the Somalia parliament.

  On March 12, 2010, the UN web site quietly added the notation that the "Memorandum of Understanding" about the filing, pushed by Nairobi based UN envoy Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and funded by oil drilling Norway, "has been rejected by the Parliament of the Transitional Federal Government Somalia, and is to be hence treated as non-actionable."

  Inner City Press has reported extensively about this controversial MOU, which despite rejection in Somalia has been defended by the UN, Ould Abdallah and Norway. Another analysis by some Inner City Press sources is below.

  But the UN's quiet admission that its plan for the Somali coastline was rejected by Somalis comes as the UN's Sanctions Group on Somalia is promoting its findings about widespread diversion of aid to Al Shabab. As Inner City Press reported, the Sanctions report has subject last week to a staged leak, first to the New York Times and then to wire services. Some UN correspondents reported did not appreciate the exposure of how the document was shown. But it is relevant, and should have been reported in the initial stories.


Ould Abdallah at UNSC stakeout, rejection of his LOS deal not shown

Here now is an alternative telling of the UN - Somali story, an update to Inner City Press' previous reporting on the MOU:

From the [beginning, many] Somalis were furious about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), saying “Somali territorial waters would have been lost had this MOU succeed”. And any where that the Somali TFG delegations travel they were confronted by angry citizens asking them “why did they sign that MOU” and demanding answers from them.

While many Somali lawmakers (MPs) were criticizing the government about the controversial MOU with Kenya, and hand full of TFG ministers were shying away from defending it, Deputy Prime Minister ( he is also Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources) Abdirahman Adan Ibbi (AKA Prof. Ibbi) became the biggest lobbyist for the MOU - Weird huh!

Prof. Ibbi fought very had so that the MOU would go forward. In doing so he wrote a letter* to Ban Ki Moon on August 19, 2009 supporting the MOU – it was after the Somali parliament rejected the same MOU (and voted down on August 1, 2009).

What is serious about that letter was: it was signed by him, Prof. Ibbi, but is says it was written by TFG Prime Minister Omer Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke who was out of town at the time. When that letter became public Prof. Ibbi started to fade away into the background.

Prof. Ibbi had a backing of the TFG president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who also defended the MOU .

When the Somali PM Sharmarke realized that his deputy used his name, he (Sharmarke) wrote his own letter to Ban Ki Moon on October 10, 2009, supporting the Parliament decision. The funny thing is, Sharmarke’s office did not send that letter to The Secretary-General of UN as they should. Much later, realizing again, Sharmarke handed the letter to Somalia's Foreign Minister, Ali Jama Jangali so that he could hand deliver to Ban Ki Moon or at least send through appropriate channel.

Nobody knows whether Jangali handed that letter to The Secretary-General – at least it was not posted at the UN website as they did the previous letters regarding the same MOU.

While all these were going on, a group of Somali lawmakers, who were fed up with government, sent their own letter to Ban-Ki Moon asking him not to accept the controversial maritime deal between Kenyan and Somalia and remind him that Somali Parliament rejected it. Again that letter also was not posted at UN website and as far as we aware of, The Secretary-General of the United Nations did not respond the Somali MPs’ letter – at least he did send reply back.

We do not know what did it or which letter reached at the Ban Ki Moon’s desk. But we do know that there was an update at UN website on 12 March 2010 stating that: “The MOU has been rejected by the Parliament of the Transitional Federal Government Somalia, and is to be hence treated as non-actionable.

This has been a huge relief for Somalis in general as they realize that the MOU between Somalia and Kenya is non-actionable – which in legal term means NULL & VOID.

Somalis think this is very good statement from UN headquarters, why? The MOU between Somalia and Kenya had a backing of UN Somalia Office (based mainly in Nairobi Kenya). This has been a concern for Somali people. And that is why many believe that UN Headquarters did not acknowledge quickly when Somali Parliament rejected the same MOU.

This is also a news dawn for Somali political system, some say, as members of parliament realize that they can overrule any law (for Somalia) even if the president doesn’t approve it. There had been even a talk to impeach the Somali parliament speaker, Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur (AKA Aaden Madoobe) as he did not act swiftly when the TFG government started the maritime MOU between Somalia/Kenya.

* Below is the link of Prof. Ibbi’s letter (at UN website)

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/ken35_09/som_re_ken_clcs35.pdf

You can compare with the Somali PM’s signature at following link (UN website).

http://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/preliminary/som_2009_letter.pdf

We'll have more on this.

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