Kenya says to take disputed islands to the Hague (2)

09:13, June 01, 2011      

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Kenyan authorities will declare an international dispute over the ownership of the two Islands on Lake Victoria and refer the matter to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Kenya's Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Richard Onyonka said Nairobi was not prepared to send security personnel to the disputed Islands of Migingo and Ugingo, but would refer the dispute to the African Union and the UN court for determination.

Uganda has deployed 35 police officers to the Migingo Island although the Kenyan government lays claim to Migingo and the adjacent Ugingo Islands, both lying about 15 km from the shoreslines of the lake on the Kenyan side of the border. "We will use all the necessary mechanisms available including referring the matter to the African Union. We will go to the International Court of Justice if need be but we are not prepared to go to war over this dispute unless we fail to reach an amicable solution to the dispute," the minister said.

The Kenyan cabinet has approved the creation of a new Department of International Boundaries within the Foreign Ministry to demarcate the country's international boundaries following the increase in the number of boundary-related disputes.

Kenya's boundary with Ethiopia is the only one that is officially demarcated. But the boundaries with Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Tanzania remain largely unmarked.

Kenya and Ugandan officials agreed to withdraw security officers from both sides from the Island of Migingo and Uganda agreed to lower its flag from the Island as a sign of good faith to allow for a peaceful solution to the ownership dispute.

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Source: Xinhua
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