Somalia has asked the United Nations’ highest court to determine the maritime boundary it shares in the Indian Ocean with Kenya.
Somalia filed the case on Thursday at the International Court of Justice, contending that both countries recognize its jurisdiction to settle the disputed border.
Somalia’s application to the court says the two countries “disagree about the location of the maritime boundary in the area where their maritime entitlements overlap” and says diplomatic efforts have failed to broker an agreement.
The dispute has been simmering for years, keeping investors away because of the lack of legal clarity over who owns potential offshore oil and gas reserves.
Kenya, which has had troops in southern Somalia since 2011, first as an invading force and then as part of an African Union peacekeeping force, lays claim to a triangle of water stretching for more than 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) that Somalia also claims.
Cases at the Hague-based court -the U.N.’s highest judicial organ- can take years, and its rulings are final and binding.