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New Claim on Somali Territorial Waters

Executive Summary

The Somali people and their friends need to know that new and critical changes are in the offing at the United Nations that could fatally maim the interest of the Somali people if immediate and urgent action is not taken to prevent this from happening. This event concerns the re-limitation or delimitation of the territorial sea and ocean boundaries of the Somali republic, their neighbors, and other coastal states around the world. According to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) there is an urgent process that is unfolding which entails extension of the outer limits of the continental shelf from two hundred nautical miles to three hundred and fifty nautical miles. This process involves that coastal states should submit supporting scientific document and technical data to the UN authority, Commission on the limits of the Continental shelf (CLCS) by May 13, 2009.  It appears that the Governments of Kenya and Yemen have prepared document which they have submitted to the said commission. The Kenyan and Yemeni document are troubling from the Somali vantage point of the Somali as they infringe on what is and has been Somali territorial waters. In particular, the documents of the Government of Kenya clearly violate the spirit and the word of the UN technical directives, which specify that the delimitation of the coastal waters must follow a line that perpendicular to coast. Instead what the Kenyan documents claim is a line that mimics latitudinal lines which an angle much less than 90 degrees.    We are deeply troubled by the report that elements of the Somali Transitional Federal Government are pre-disposed to support the claims of Kenya and undermine the legitimate claims of the Somali people. We thus, urge the Somalia and good friends of the Somali people to challenge these developments so that justice will prevail.  

This is a serious matter and requires an immediate halt to the Kenyan presentation to the UN Commission so that the Somali people will have the opportunity to produce their own documents fully supported by competent technical team. The following technical report produced by the volunteers of SomaliTalk.com provides the details of what is transpiring. As a matter of urgency we summarize here the recommendation of the report.

  1. The TFG and other Somali authorities must not sign and support the Kenyan and Yemeni documents which undermine Somali sovereignty;
  2. The TFG and Somalia’s friend must immediately establish a national commission staffed by highly trained Somali and other experts to study the matter and put forth Somalia’s documents;
  3. The TFG must immediately, as a matter of national urgency, ask the UN Commission to delay the deadline for the submission of the document until the Somali people have the opportunity to produce their own;
  4. Given the absence of effective Somali National Government the United Nations and other world bodies must NOT hold the Somali people responsible for the activities of the criminals who have been exploiting their territorial water since the demise of the national government in 1991; And, the UN must respect old agreements as well as conventions that existed before 1991 until a new and effective Somali national government come to be;
  5. We urge that neighboring States, specifically Kenya and Yemen, must respect Somali sovereignty over its territorial waters.

The details of the assessment are available in the SomaliTalk.com report which is in Somali. The English and Arabic translation is forthcoming.

Somali Version: Read here: http://somalitalk.com/2009/may/13/

Related News: Kenya, Somalia sign maritime boundary agreement (Xinhua)

Faafin: SomaliTalk.com | April 4, 2009

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