Somalia PM amid controversial maritime dispute

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A delegation led by Somalia’s caretaker Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has arrived Garowe, the regional capital of Puntland on Tuesday, Idale News Online reports.

The delegation was received by Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, Parliament Speaker, State Ministers, parliamentarians and traditional leaders at Garowe airport.

Speaking at a joint press conference in the State House, President Ali has welcomed caretaker Prime Minister’s visit to Puntland and said they both will hold further bilateral talks on the progress of electoral process of the upcoming Somali elections.

On his side, caretaker Prime Minister has expressed his pleasure over his arrival in Garowe, and commended Puntland people for the prevailing stability in their region.

During questions session by the media at the press conference, caretaker Prime Minister declined to answer a question in relation to his role then as Prime Minister for the past Transitional Federal government in signing the controversial MoU with Kenya.

“I can’t comment on the matter as court procedures is ongoing, but I want to clear out that Kenya has reset its boundary lines on 2005 before past TFG’s term, unlike the purported controversial MoU, the original MoU was formed to request extension of the continental shelf boundaries of our country,” said Sharmarke.

The controversy comes amid Kenya’s request from International Court of Justice (ICJ) judges yesterday at court hearing to object Somalia’s case.

Kenya said they have a valid MoU with Somalia on settling the boundary dispute approved by the then TFG President, Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers of Somalia.

Sharmarke who is a candidate in the upcoming elections is expected to kick start his presidential campaign during his stay in Puntland region. Close sources tell GO that Sharmarke is also seeking a seat in the upcoming Upper House chamber of the Federal Parliament.

Analysts say that Somalia-Kenya maritime dispute at ICJ in Hague has raised anger among public, consequently damaging the integrity of past TFG officials and caretaker Prime Minister Sharmarke campaign in the upcoming presidential election.

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