The United States has backed President Kenyatta’s push for an out of court settlement in Kenya’s maritime border dispute with Somalia.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter said Washington has urged Somalia to drop its case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give room for negotiations between the two countries.
“I’ve been to Mogadishu to speak to the Somalia president [Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo]. I told him to pull off the court case,” McCarter said in an interview with Daily Nation.
He added: “I’ve told them [Farmajo and Kenyatta] that the biggest hurdle is defeating al-Shabaab and that is the only way we can tap the gains on the blue economy.”
In his speech during the UN General Assembly in New York last month, Kenyatta called for dialogue over the matter but his Somali counterpart Farmajo insisted on proceeding with the court process.
The case at the Hague-based ICJ was set to commence this November before the court granted Kenya’s request to postpone the hearing. The hearing is now set to begin on June 2020.
At the center of the dispute between Kenya and Somalia is 100,000km2 area in the Indian Ocean reported to be rich in gas and oil deposits.