PRESS STATEMENT BY AMB. MONICA K. JUMA, CABINET SECRETARY FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE DURING THE VISIT OF MR. REX W. TILLERSON SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AT THE VILLA ROSA KEMPINSKI HOTEL, NAIROBI MARCH 9, 2018
Excellency, Mr Rex. Tillerson, Secretary of State, USA
Excellency, Ambassador Robert Godec, Ambassador of the United States of America in Kenya
Colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade
Members of the Fourth Estate
Ladies & Gentlemen
- I am delighted to welcome and host H.E. Mr Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State of the United States, to Nairobi. Secretary Tillerson is in Kenya for three days, as part of his official visit that began at the African Union Headquarters and to a number of African States. Namely; Ethiopia, Djibouti, Chad and Nigeria.
- On behalf of His Excellency, The President, The Government and the People of the Republic Kenya, and indeed on my own behalf, I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Secretary Tillerson for this historic visit. Visiting Kenya as part of his first official tour of Africa is not only a great testament to, but a timely reaffirmation of, the deep, historical and strategic relationship between Kenya and the United States of America.
- Late this afternoon, Secretary Tillerson had the opportunity to meet and hold bilateral talks with His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta during which a range of issues were discussed and modalities of follow up agreed upon.
- During their meeting, His Excellency President Kenyatta expressed his satisfaction at the existing strong bilateral collaboration on a wide range of issues and areas between Kenya and the USA.
- President Kenyatta reaffirmed his commitment to continue working closely with His Excellency President Donald Trump and his administration on matters of mutual interest.
- Their discussion focused on priority areas of cooperation, including, their shared conviction in the fight against terrorism, radicalisation and other transnational crimes; regional peace and security and economic partnership between our two countries.
- On the bilateral front, His Excellency President Kenyatta shared his focus on the “BIG FOUR” Agenda aimed at improving livelihoods, create jobs and grow the economy of Kenya by focusing on critical areas of our economy in the next five years. He urged the Government of United States of America to support the implementation of the Big Four. He observed with delight the steps taken by Bechtel International to set their African Headquarters in Nairobi and their readiness to commence construction of the Nairobi – Mombasa toll Road.
- E. expressed his appreciation that all processes are now complete in readiness for the inaugural direct flight between Nairobi and New York. He expressed his optimism in the flight boosting people to people contacts and trade between our two countries.
- His Excellency the President extended an invitation to his counterpart to visit Kenya at a time to be decided through diplomatic channels.
- In our exchange of views with Secretary Tillerson, I have reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to the values of democratic governance, constitutionalism, rule of law, and human rights. We underscored the importance of respecting established institutions as the basis of entrenching democratic governance across the globe. Accordingly, I reiterated the commitment of this administration to respect the independence of constitutional commissions and other constitutional arms of government because this is the bedrock of Democratic Governance.
- We noted the exponential growth of trade between our two countries since 2001 and agreed to engage in a negotiation towards the conclusion of a structured and mutually beneficial trade framework between our two countries that would fully cater for our commercial interests beyond the AGOA agreement that is coming to an end in 2025.
- Regionally, Kenya sits in a fragile region with numerous security threats. I commend the Government of the United States of America for the existing robust partnership in the area of Security and Military Cooperation. It was just on February 28, 2018, that the USA donated Metal Shark boats worth US$ 5 Million to Kenya Navy, to help the Kenya Navy patrol into the deep sea, defend our maritime borders and secure the Kenyan coast. These are but a few of the wide and deep support we have received from the United States to support our efforts in the fight against terrorism, radicalisation and countering violent extremism and other transnational crimes.
- We especially welcome the continued support of the USA to AMISOM. We in Kenya, like all other Troop Contributing Countries to AMISOM believe in the need for a sustained engagement in order to sustain gains made and create an environment for recovery of Somalia. In this regard, we welcome the support of the USA government to AMISOM troop-contributing countries and urged its support for the mobilization of the international community, in particular, the UNSC for the provision of critical enablers and force multipliers well as predictable, adequate, and sustainable funding to AMISOM.
- On South Sudan, we noted the slow progress in the IGAD High-Level Revitalization Forum process and share deep concerns about this international crisis that is impacting on a large number of people. I reaffirmed Kenya’s continued demonstrated commitment towards the restoration of South Sudan to normalcy.
- In reference to the environment and wildlife conservation, we appreciate the long-time support from the USA especially against illegal poaching and trade of wildlife trophies obtained from endangered species. I urge the Government of the USA to support the strengthening of the UN offices in Nairobi, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat. We have also asked the USA to support our bid for a seat at the UNSC in the period 2021/2022; our hosting of the 2018 Blue Economy Conference and the bid to host the 2020 Oceans Conference.
- We thank H.E. Secretary Tillerson for this historic visit. We hope he takes time to enjoy Kenya’s wonderful flora and fauna.
- It is now my honour and pleasure to invite Secretary to make his remarks. SECRETARY TILLERSON.