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Kenya, Somalia: Oil Block Dispute Prompts Nairobi to Recall Ambassador, Expel Somali Envoy

2 MINS READFeb 18, 2019 | 16:31 GMT
What Happened: Nairobi has recalled its ambassador to Mogadishu while also expelling the latter's envoy to Kenya over concerns that Somalia is allegedly auctioning off oil and gas blocks in disputed waters between the countries, the Daily Nation reported Feb. 18. Somalia has denied that it is attempting to sell oil blocks that go past a disputed maritime line.
Why It Matters: Somalia filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the dispute after out-of-court talks failed to resolve the disagreement, although Kenya still wants to solve the issue outside of the international body. With its latest action against Mogadishu, Nairobi is hoping to ensure that the blocks remain in its control. Meanwhile, the disagreement could also impact the countries' cooperation against al Shabaab.
Background: In 2014, Kenya awarded maritime exploration blocks to Total, Eni and Anadarko. Somalia, however, claimed the blocks infringed on its waters, prompting it to file a case at the ICJ, which has yet to issue a final ruling. Earlier this month, Somalia told an investment conference in the United Kingdom that it would accept bids for the oil blocks in November.
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