The US says Kenya could help build stability in the Horn of Africa, particularly Ethiopia and South Sudan.
At a meeting on Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Kenya’s Secretary of State Raychelle Omamo discussed “common priorities” related to regional security, health and climate change.
But in the Horn of Africa, the focus was on the unrest in Ethiopia and the struggle for peace in South Sudan, according to a telegram published to the media after the meeting at the State Department in Washington DC.
“[I] met with Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo to discuss using the US-Kenya strategic partnership to advance health, security and the climate crisis, human rights and democracy, peace and security in the region, and trade and investment, ”Blinken tweeted Friday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price said the two heads of state and government had also “discussed the importance of Kenya’s involvement in the ongoing crises in Ethiopia and South Sudan. “Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to maintain a strategic dialogue with Kenya.”
Ethiopia, which recently held its first national elections under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, is facing an ongoing conflict in the Tigray region.
A unilateral ceasefire declared by Addis Ababa two weeks ago seemed all but broken this week when the Amhara militia, allied with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, clashed with fighters from the Tigray Defense Forces.
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Despite the armistice, the Tigray fighters had won victories in major cities. Prime Minister Abiy promised on Wednesday to “fend off” all TDF attacks.
Ethiopia is also facing a border dispute with Sudan over an as-yet-demarcated border, and Addis Ababa is also embroiled in an ongoing disagreement with Sudan and Egypt over how to fill the Grand Renaissance Dam over the Blue Nile.
Kenya says the African Union is able to resolve the Nile dam dispute
The US has stated in the past that Kenya’s current membership in the UN Security Council could help stabilize both the region and the continent in general.
CS Omamo spoke on Libya ahead of the UN Security Council meeting on Thursday, calling for the hostilities to continue.
“We both believe in the same principles, the same values of democracy, the idea that there is hope in every person and that we can master our challenges through solidarity … especially after Covid-19,” she said after the meeting at the Foreign Office on Friday.
The U.S. will be sending around 1.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Kenya by the end of the month to kickstart a vaccination campaign that is now stuck at around 1.5 million due to dosage bottlenecks.
Kenya also expects a batch of approximately 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines by August.