Capital FM (Nairobi)

8 August 2013

Kenya: Obama Phones Uhuru, Offers Support After JKIA Fire

Nairobi — United States President Barrack Obama has telephoned President Uhuru Kenyatta for the first time since he assumed office after the March 4 elections.

Obama called Kenyatta on Wednesday to offer America's support following the devastating fire that broke out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, crippling operations and leaving behind a colossal trail of losses.

The American leader added that his government was prepared to support Kenya in its disaster training programmes.

"President Obama called President Kenyatta today to offer United States support following a major fire at Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport," read a statement published on the Nairobi US embassy website.

Obama also called to offer his condolences to Kenyans who lost their loved ones and suffered serious wounds after the tragedy of the August 7, 1998 bombing.

The US President joined Kenyans in marking the 15th anniversary since the deadly blast saying Americans would continue supporting Kenya in the fight against terrorism.

"The President also commemorated this day, the 15th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda terrorist attack against the US Embassy in Nairobi, by expressing condolences to the loved ones of those killed and wounded in the attack, and highlighting our continued commitment to countering terrorism around the globe," read the statement.

After Kenyatta was declared Kenya's fourth President, the United States and Britain sent congratulatory messages to the people of Kenya but did not mention Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

Obama and his administration have since kept Kenyatta's administration at arm's length.

Obama snubbed Kenya on his latest visit to Africa but toured Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa.

At the time, a White House official said that Obama would side-step Nairobi due to the International Criminal Court (ICC) cases that face Kenyatta and Ruto because it would be unseemly for him to appear with ICC indictees.

Kenyatta and Ruto have been pushing for African countries to increase trade with one another so that their economies can grow.

"Comparing the numbers with the European Union Commissioner on Trade, I learnt that intra Europe trade is 85 percent. Intra Asia trade is 65 percent and intra Africa trade is 12 percent," observed Ruto during the Great Lakes summit held at the Windsor Hotel on July 29.

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