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Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the invitation and said his country would take steps in line with the approach.

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“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is very important for us,” Erdogan said.

“Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there.”

Turkey is a key ally of Somalia. They are playing a major role in rehabilitating the infrastructure of the war-torn nation.

Turkish engineers are helping build roads in Somalia, and Turkish officers have trained Somali soldiers as part of efforts to build up the country’s army.

Somalia is taking steps to revive its oil sector, in paralysis since 1991 when civil war broke out, to help support its recovery. Emerging challenges threaten further delay of the government’s plan to pick explorers this year for an area covering about 75,000 square kilometers.

Kenya put the Horn of Africa country on notice not to market blocks in an offshore area whose ownership it also claims. The dispute is yet to be resolved at a United Nations court.

While Somalia has a good relationship with Turkey, the country’s oil operations will be transparent and without favoritism toward a company or country, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said on Tuesday on Somalia National Television. There is “work to be done” before exploration begins, he said.

By Odindo Ayieko

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