7 May 2018

East Africa: After Berbera And Djibouti Ethiopia Now Eyes On Kenya's Lamu Port

Photo: Lamu Port
Port of Lamu (file photo).

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Kenya,H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, made a State Visit to the Republic of Kenya from 6th to 7th May, 2018.H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali led a high-powered delegation comprising Ministers, Senior Government Officials.

The two leaders focused their discussions on critical bilateral, regional, and global matters. At the bilateral level, they re-emphasised the great historical foundation on which the two nations have continued to build their bilateral relations and agreed that the vision of the forefathers to points to a future of shared values, culture and tradition.

The two leaders further emphasized the importance of strengthening cooperation that inspires prosperity of the people of the two countries. They committed to the development of LAPSSET, the Northern Corridor including road network between Isiolo, Moyale through to Addis Ababa and the railway from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. Both sides agreed to finalise the Ethiopia-Kenya interconnection transmission line.

Both sides agreed to jointly supervise and inspect the Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo-Moyale and Moyale-Hawassa-Addis Ababa road networks. The Kenyan side will facilitate the formal acquisition of land in Lamu Port given to the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian side reiterated its commitment to develop the land for logistical facilitation.

The two leaders strongly encouraged members of their respective private sectors to identify potential areas for engagement and pledged to continue improving the business environment and create maximum incentives for successful commerce.

To further intensify integration the two leaders agreed on the following:

To strengthen cooperation between Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. Both sides agreed to strengthen the collaboration between the two national carriers, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.

The Kenyan side agreed to grant Ethiopian Airlines a second frequency flight to Mombasa

Both sides also agreed to unrestricted marketing to Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways in Kenya and Ethiopia respectively,

Intensify cooperation in the Tourism sector;

Strengthen cross-border cooperation in socio-economic activities; Development of "Moyale Joint City and Economic Zone"

Both sides agreed to jointly invest in "Moyale Joint City and Economic Zone" Project

Both sides also agreed to welcome additional investment for "Moyale Joint City and Economic Zone" Project

To promote joint military training; and,

Enhance cooperation in Agriculture.

The two leaders agreed that logistics arrangements for the One Stop Border Post be put in place within the next quarter.

The two leaders agreed to the exchange of prisoners. They directed the urgent formulation of modalities to ensure implementation within the next seven (7) days.

The two leaders emphasized the important role they play in regional peace and security and agreed to intensity their joint effort to bring greater peace and security to the region, in particular in South Sudan and Somalia.

The two leaders identified cross-border security challenges, exacerbated by vulnerable communities, as obstacles to sustainable peace. They agreed to focus on promoting inclusive economic growth of the border regions, such as the one contemplated by the Special Status Agreement, affirming that cross-border trade between the border communities could greatly elevate their quality of lives.

The two leaders expressed their deep disappointment at the slow pace of progress in ongoing efforts to restore peace in South Sudan. In pledging their full commitment to the IGAD's mediation efforts they urged the leaders of South Sudan to place the interests of their people above their own in order to give peace a chance.

Both leaders noted that Al Shabaab continues to pose significant threat to Somalia and the region. In this regard, they expressed concern at the continued lukewarm international support for Somalia, in particular the inadequate and unpredictable funding for AMISOM, which poses a threat to gains made thus far. In this regard, the two leaders committed to continue lobbying for adequate and sustainable support to AMISOM, including provision of force multipliers for the mission in Somalia, as well as training for the Somalia security forces. The leaders expressed deep concern at the effects of external interests that are aimed at further destabilizing Somalia.

The two leaders reiterated the need for strengthened cooperation in shared trans-boundary resources use, based on the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization.

The two leaders reiterated their firm commitment to a rules based international system with balanced multilateralism and urgent reform of the United Nations System at its core. The leaders pledged to champion common African Union positions especially within the Security Council. In this regard, Ethiopia pledged to support Kenya's bid for a non-Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council for the years 2021-2022.

The two leaders agreed that the enhanced strategic partnership managed by the Bi-National Commission (BNC), would facilitate the robust implementation of the historic Special Status Agreement (SSA) which holds a huge promise for the joint prosperity of both nations. They directed their Ministers of Foreign Affairs to insert greater urgency in revitalizing the SSA and invest more energy in reviewing progress of its implementation at the next Bi national Commission.

The leaders noted that the various agreements and memoranda of understanding signed between the two countries provided a critical foundation for enhanced Kenya-Ethiopia bilateral ties. They agreed that the implementation of some of the instruments required better coordination. The leaders therefore introduced an implementation framework and a Mid Term Review Mechanism of the Bi-National Commission to facilitate robust monitoring and evaluation of the agreed areas.

At the conclusion of the State Visit, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali expressed gratitude to H. E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the people of Kenya for the successes achieved during the visit, as well as the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their stay. He invited his Brother, the President of the Republic of Kenya, to reciprocate the State Visit. President Uhuru Kenyatta accepted. The timing of the visit will be managed through diplomatic channels.

President Uhuru Kenyatta took the opportunity to wish his brother, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and through him, to the people of Ethiopia, greatest success in their task of nation building.

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