Biden hosts President of Kenya at the White House.


Kenya is a major player in Africa. Biden met with African leaders for the first time since he took office, as evidenced by US President Joe Biden’s decision to meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday.

“A strategic partnership between the United States and Kenya is essential,” Biden said when the two leaders sat down in the Oval Office. “I believe it is imperative that we both address key regional and global challenges.”

The focus of their private negotiations is likely to be Kenya’s neighbor, Ethiopia, where the war has intensified for nearly a year in the northern region of Tigray. Conflict has killed countless people — the death toll itself is controversial. However, the United Nations estimates that the war has put 5.2 million people in humanitarian crisis and more than 63,000 have fled to neighboring Sudan.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during a meeting with President Joe Biden on October 14, 2021 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

“Today we will discuss what Kenya and the United States can do in the Horn of Africa to promote peace and security,” Biden said. Neither leader mentions the name of Ethiopia.

However, White House spokesman Jen Psaki said the two leaders had discussed the landlocked country and explained the conflict in harsh terms.

In September, Biden signed an executive order threatening to impose sanctions on “those responsible for or complicating the prolongation of conflicts in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, and stopping the ceasefire.” Sanctions that have not yet been imposed will affect the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the federal governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Amhara local government, and other political parties in the conflict.

“Obviously, what’s happening in Ethiopia is atrocities,” Pusaki said in response to a question about when the United States would begin sanctions. “That’s scary. Frankly, I’m glad you asked me because I haven’t paid enough attention to what’s happening here in the United States.”

African solution to African problems?

Both Tigray and Addis Ababa are concerned about the lack of international oversight of conflicts. In September, Ethiopia expelled seven UN officials, demonstrating that the Horn of Africa’s powers are less susceptible to external forces. Ethiopia is the only African country that has never been colonized, as Ethiopian leaders and the general public tend to pay attention to.

That historic distrust makes African peers like Kenya a wise choice to exert influence, says Fergus Kell.

“Regional, Kenya has been a longtime US partner in counterterrorism, especially with respect to Somalia,” said Kell, an analyst at Chatham House, a British think tank in Kano, Nigeria. “But more and more, this is also about the situation in Ethiopia. Kenya is one of the loudest African countries in crisis as the Biden administration is considering stronger punitive measures.”

This week, Kenyatta told UN reporters that the war side of Ethiopia “doesn’t think there is a military solution, so we need to reach a political solution.”

“I want to talk about it”

The White House also said leaders discussed democracy and human rights issues, security, economic growth, climate change, and “the need to bring transparency and accountability to national and international financial systems.” ..

The final subject may touch upon exposure to Kenyatta and his family’s offshore possession. An international consortium of investigative journalists reported in a recent Pandora Papers report that Kenyatta’s family had accumulated approximately $ 30 million in offshore assets. There is no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole national property.

When asked by VOA on Wednesday about promoting transparency and exposing the Pandora Papers, spokesman Pisaki said Biden “as you know, has spoken very loudly about inequality in the international financial system.” rice field.

“That doesn’t mean you don’t meet people who have disagreements,” she said. “We have a broad interest in working with Kenya and working with them on issues in Africa and the region, which will be the main focus.”

Biden said Thursday that he would discuss the issue privately with his Kenyan counterparts.

“We will also discuss strengthening financial transparency and accelerating economic growth,” Biden said. “President, you talked about it. I want to tell you about it,” Biden added.

VOA’s Chris Hannas contributed to this report.

Biden hosts President of Kenya at the White House

Source link Biden hosts President of Kenya at the White House


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