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Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed arrives in Kenya for State visit

Wednesday February 28, 2024

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is received by President William Ruto on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at the start of his State visit on February 27, 2024.
Image: PCS

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has arrived in the country on his first State visit since President William Ruto took over.

He was received by his host President William Ruto at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, JKIA.

Abiy was last in Kenya on December 9, 2020, on an official visit for the launch of the One-Stop Border Post at Moyale in Marsabit.

His last State visit to Kenya was in June 2018 when he and then-president Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to elevate their ties to strategic levels.

Insiders said the agenda of the visit is security and economic collaboration, with a particular focus on Ethiopia's strategic interest in utilising Kenya's Lamu Port for maritime access.

The latest visit signals improved relations between Nairobi and Addis Ababa and offers a new opportunity to explore new avenues of collaboration in the region.

Kenya and Ethiopia share a 60-year-old historical defence agreement, rooted in the friendship between Jomo Kenyatta and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi was on February 22 in Ethiopia where he signed key cooperation deals in seven sectors on behalf of the government.

These included MoUs on tourism, wildlife, culture, blue economy, petroleum, correctional services and capacity building in public service.

The deals were agreed upon during the 36th Joint Ministerial Commission meeting in Addis Ababa.

"I'm excited by this great opportunity to explore ways to strengthen the friendly relations between our two countries on economic, social, security and foreign relations," Mudavadi said.

Besides bolstering the enhanced bilateral ties during Abiy's visit, Ruto is also expected to capitalise on occasion to push for Ethiopia's support of Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s bid for the AU chairmanship.

The President has taken to playing a pivotal role in ensuring his former political nemesis wins the AU top job which signals his exit from the local political scene.

Since declaring his candidature for the post on February 15, Raila has received backing not only from Ruto and his Azimio camp but also from regional leaders.

They include former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo who said the Opposition chief is the best pick for the position.

Ruto also joined Raila in Uganda on Monday where their host Yoweri Museveni endorsed his candidature for the top AU job ahead of polls slated for 2015 during the next AU Summit.


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