The International Court of Justice in The Hague is expected to deliver its decision on the maritime border between Kenya and Somalia on October 12th. The Government in Nairobi stated hence that it has withdrawn its recognition of the Court’s jurisdiction and its participation in the current case. The Court does not provide for such powers to be granted to its members.
There is no reaction from Mogadishu to the Kenyan position. Somalia initiated the proceedings in 2014, once the bilateral dialogue on the matter had failed. We are now in the final stages of the case, but while the verdict may provide legal clarity, its implementation will require cooperation on both sides of the border, which is currently uncertain.
Tensions with Somaliland also remain high, and the latest episode here is the forced eviction of several hundred people from Las Anod, the capital of Sool and a border town with Puntland and Ogaden, home to displaced persons from the numerous area crises. The local authorities say this is a response to security threats; it is possible that it is a sign of firmness, addressed to Premier Roble and the international community.
On the other hand, the national authorities have been very busy on the external front in this period: the Prime Minister went to Qatar (October 4th) to meet his counterpart Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani in Doha and discuss new projects in Somalia.
Roble’s delegation was welcomed by Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications, which may suggest what are the primary areas of interest for Doha. The Qatari rulers have so far been more supportive of President Farmajo than of the Prime Minister: the latter’s good reception is therefore also an indication of their relative strength and credibility at this delicate juncture in Somali political life.
Farmajo went at the same time to Addis Ababa to attend PM Abiy’s inauguration ceremony. Here he took the opportunity to reiterate the close bilateral ties, also based on personal relations. The alliance with Ethiopia remains solid, although the intensity of the relationship has waned since the start of the crisis in Tigray, which is, however, a reason for the closeness between Abiy and Farmajo.
Noteworthy in this regard is the arrival of an Egyptian military flight in Mogadishu, carrying medical supplies for the COVID19 emergency in Somalia. Egypt and Ethiopia rival each other for the waters of the Nile and creating a good relationship with Mogadishu with little effort is something Cairo is looking forward to in 2021.