Kenya denies expelling Somali ambassador over territorial row

Kenya has denied recalling its ambassador to Somalia and expelling the Somali envoy over a disputed maritime border area.

Foreign ministry principal secretary Macharia Kamau said Nairobi had only “summoned”ambassador Lucas Tumbo for consultations.

“We summoned ours for consultations and asked that theirs departs for consultations on their side so that we can resolve this matter with credible and correct information from both sides,” Mr. Kamau tweeted on Sunday.

Kenya on Saturday accused Somalia of auctioning oil and gas blocks within the Kenyan maritime territory.

The blocks are at the centre of a maritime territorial dispute in the Indian Ocean.

Somalia, which held the auction in London on 7 February, did not respond immediately to the new developments.

Kenya said it had raised concerns with the Somali government a day before the auction after it noticed blocks in what it considers to be its maritime territory were included in the auction.
The International Court of Justice is considering a claim on their maritime boundaries brought by Somalia in 2014 after negotiations over the 100,00 km2 stretch of sea floor broke down.

On Sunday, Somalias’s envoy to Kenya Mohamoud Ahmed Nur returned to Mogadishu.

Reports in the Somali media said leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia held an emergency meeting late on Saturday to deliberate on the steps the government should take over the row.

Additional reporting by Reuters