The government on Wednesday dismissed as unfounded allegations by a section of Somali politicians that Kenya is trying to acquire Somali territory through the signing of the Maritime Boundary Agreement. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that the memorandum of understanding signed in Nairobi on April 7 between Kenya and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia does not establish a maritime boundary.
“The memorandum therefore does not establish the maritime boundary between Kenya and Somalia; it only leaves the matter of delimiting the boundary to the future when Somalia will be ready to undertake the exercise with Kenya,” read the statement.
Paul Ndungu, an aide to Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi has explained that through the MOU the states are granting each other the No-Objection with respect to submissions on the outer limits of the continental shelf.
“The claims must be submitted by 13 May, 2009,” he said. “The CLCS requires states that have adjacent coastlines to each other to conclude agreements on the delimitation of their maritime boundaries”. “The Memorandum solely wishes to facilitate the presentation of submissions to the CLCS and does not in any way prejudice future delimitation of submissions to the commission before the scheduled deadline of May 13,” read the statement.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states intending to define the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical miles are required to submit scientific and technical data to the Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf (CLCS). The government has said that this does not affect future delimitation of the maritime boundary in the un-surveyed area, and shall be agreed between the countries after the commission examines the separate submissions to be made before May 13. The preparation of Kenya's claim for submission requires the cooperation of its neighbours Tanzania and Somalia.
This is because, UNCLOS provides that states that have adjacent coastlines to each other need to conclude agreements on the delimitation of their maritime boundaries for their Territorial Sea, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelves by means of an agreement in order to achieve an equitable solution.