Kenya Introduces Regional Maritime Treaty to Ease Ethiopia-Somalia Tensions


Kenya (GO) - In a strategic move to quell the growing tension between Ethiopia and Somalia, Kenya has put forth a proposal for a regional maritime treaty. The initiative comes as Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Nairobi on Thursday, highlighting the urgency of diplomatic engagement.

Ethiopia’s arrangement, initiated on January 1 to lease a section of the Somaliland coast, has sparked a significant diplomatic standoff. This deal, which hints at Ethiopia’s recognition of Somaliland’s long-standing claim to independence, has been met with firm opposition from the Somali government, prompting fears of increased instability in the Horn of Africa.

Kenya’s response, developed in collaboration with Djibouti and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), suggests a structured approach to maritime access for landlocked countries within the region. This proposal was central to discussions during President Mohamud’s visit, underscoring the regional efforts to ensure peace and stability.

Korir Sing’oei, speaking to Reuters, outlined the treaty’s objective to facilitate predictable and stable access to maritime resources for Ethiopia, while concurrently safeguarding Somalia’s territorial integrity. This framework, he noted, is crucial in preventing the ongoing dispute from escalating into a broader regional conflict.

The proposed treaty emerged as a focal point in the bilateral talks between President Mohamud and his Kenyan counterpart, President William Ruto, as they seek to navigate the complexities of this diplomatic impasse. Their discussions aim to foster a consensus that will not only address the immediate concerns but also set a precedent for maritime resource sharing in the region.

Both Somalia and Ethiopia are contemplating Kenya’s proposal, with their leaders considering further dialogue to progress the resolution process. The urgency of these discussions is amplified by the Al-Shabaab insurgency, which is leveraging the dispute to challenge the Somali government’s sovereignty.

As Somalia’s President visits Kenya, the proposed maritime treaty signifies a pivotal moment in regional diplomacy, offering a pathway to resolve the current tensions and establish a framework for future cooperation in the Horn of Africa.


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