Press release by Somali Presidential Candidate Dr Abdirahman Abdishakur
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Somalis
Today I want to clearly share with you an incident that has repeatedly emerged recently and which is misleadingly reported by some media houses. In this press release, I want to clarify myself instead of others doing so on my behalf. It is about a Memorandum of Understanding on Continental Shelves between Somalia and Kenya that I signed on behalf of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.
How the incident happened
On 6th April 2009, the then TFG cabinet discussed the issue of continental shelves of Somalia at the request of Minister for fisheries and marine resources Prof. Abdirahman Ibbi. The cabinet listened reports by experts from the United Nation and Norwegian government and afterwards decided to sign the MoU, then passed the issue to the President who met with the experts and endorsed the cabinet’s decision.
It is worth noting that all cabinet ministers were alive at that time and it was before the Shamo blast and the assassination of Minister Omar Hashi.
I am not sure whether all the 39 cabinet ministers attended the session, because I myself was in Nairobi, back from a conference I attended in Botswana.
After the decision by the TFG cabinet and minister, I was called by the then Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid who told me to sign the MoU with Kenya adding that there was a deadline to beat (07.04.2009) which if Somalia misses, it can lose the continental shelf.
The Premier explained for me how they decision was made and when I asked him whether they consulted any legal experts on the issue, he mentioned to me Abdikawi Yussuf- a Somali judge at the International Court in Hague, whom he said was consulted and recommended the signing of the MoU.
I requested the Premier to make a formally written document on the job he wants me to do on behalf of the TFG, in which he agreed (Read it here.)
I also called the President and he confirmed to me that he met with the experts from UN and Norway and is ok with MoU.
After all those efforts, I signed the MoU which was tabled before the national parliament that rejected it all together.
What happened next?
What I signed was not a binding agreement, but a mere MoU, because I believe a binding agreement needs a functional Somalia governments that has a legal jurisdiction all over the country and can defend its territory. On the other hand, the MoU I signed was about continental shelves and not the demarcation of the sea border between Somalia and Kenya, which can only be talked about by a full time Somali government with the consent of her people and not an interim one.
I read the MoU several times before I put the pen to it, because I am a lawyer even though I didn’t specialize in maritime law. I am sure I didn’t sign a MoU on sea border or one that I saw as to be committing mistake by the TFG leadership. (http://www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/submissions_files/ken35_09/som_re_ken_clcs35.pdf)
Ladies and Gentlemen, respected fellow Somalis
I assured you that I never for a second intended to be part of something that will harm my Country and People and history is on my side.
I tried my best to be sure of what I was signing, consulted with several people. I always acknowledge that I am a human being, prone to errors and so is the government. That is why we have the parliament to check on the decisions by the government, to rectify the wrong ones. The Somali people also have the same obligations to stop the wrong decisions of the government. I never joined politics to harm my country and people. I don’t think the whole government of that time had that intention too.
The rightness or wrongness of the MoU is something we have to leave to the experts and legal practitioners in maritime laws. If it was wrong, I am ready to take responsibility of it, but with the government of that time and the president, because it was a unanimous decision.
I raised this issue in many forums some of which the former PM and a group of his ministers were present. For example the London Somali Diaspora meeting with TFG delegations. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtRIRwd–Cc&feature=player_embedded).
But that issue shouldn’t be used as slandering, defaming and false accusation. History has that slandering was used to target prominent people among the society, for example the slandering of Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) wife Aisha, which was later solved by a revelation from Allah (S.W.T), also that false accusation of Prophet Yusuf.
Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Somalis
Now that I have explained in details how the incident happened, I kindly expect you to acknowledge it. I know there are many people who are honest but mislead about the truth of the incident and my reason for this press release it to clear their doubts.
I am grateful to those who spoke truthfully about the matter due to their knowledge of the reality of the issue or their personal knowledge to me and I urge them to continue that way. (http://wardheernews.com/Articles_09/September/Hosh/10_MOU_between_Somalia_%26_Kenya.html)
I forgave all those who talked bad about me due to their misinformation about the matter.
I am confident of my history and the assessment by those whom we learnt together, worked together, lived together or interacted in one way or the other.
I pray to Allah to make our hearts close to each other, shower us with His mercy and forgiveness and make us those who ascertain things before they act.