Somalia filed a suit against Kenya at the United Nation's highest court, seeking to resolve a long-running dispute over lucrative oil reserves in the Indian Ocean.
Somalia asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to determine the maritime boundary between the coastal nations, which disagree about the rights for exploration and collect revenue from oil discoveries.
Somalia asked the court to intervene, saying "diplomatic negotiations, in which their respective views have been fully exchanged, have failed to resolve this disagreement," a statement issued by the court early Friday said.
Somalia has said the row risks deterring multinational oil companies from exploring for oil and gas offshore east Africa.
Kenya recently identified eight new offshore exploration blocks available for licensing, and all but one of them are located in the contested area.
The row could threaten exploration rights that Kenya has granted to oil and gas companies, which have already started exploring in the area.