KENYA MAKES A CASE FOR MULTILATERALISM IN WHITE HOUSE TELECONFERENCE CALL WITH PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Martin KIMANI was part of a virtual visit to the White House by the Permanent Representatives of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, 18th March 2021. He conveyed appreciation from His Excellency President Uhuru KENYATTA to President Joe BIDEN for the strong Kenya-US relationship reflected in their recent communication on pursuing mutual interests in peace and security, and trade and development. Also in attendance were Mr. John KERRY, the Presidential Special Envoy for Climate, and Mr. Jon FINER, the Principal Deputy National Security Advisor.

Amb. Martin Kimani

Reflecting Kenya’s leadership on environmental protection and sustainability, Ambassador Kimani called for tangible progress in preparing the world to respond adequately to climate change. He observed that Kenya, and Africa in general, need increased investment, job creation, trade and development to play its rightful role in the global response to climate change.

He gave a nod to the Free Trade Agreement that Kenya is currently negotiating with the US as the kind of paradigm-shifting initiative that will allow it to successfully cope with the threats of climate change while ensuring the improvement of living standards and economic opportunity.

Kenya’s Permanent Representative welcomed the Biden administration’s energised engagement in the Horn of Africa region. He decried the increasing volatility of politics regionally as reflecting winner-take-all exclusionary politics that are becoming a detriment to regional peace and security.

In the context of the destructive political conflicts that bring countries to the attention of the Security Council, Ambassador Kimani observed that Kenya is acutely aware of the tough compromises required to resolve political conflict and to build an inclusive and stable democratic society. He argued that Kenya’s experience, particularly as recently reflected in the Building Bridges Initiative, is an example of successful resolution of political division that President Kenyatta is championing in the continent.

Ambassador Kimani completed his remarks with an appeal for the United Nations, requesting President Biden to invest in reenergising the organisation to better serve its vital functions after its years of decline. This position furthered President Kenyatta’s continued championing of multilateralism and his recognition of the need for an effective and ambitious United Nations if it is to succeed. 

As has since been reported on the meeting by the US government, President Biden in his remarks to the visiting UN Security Council reaffirmed America’s commitment to multilateralism and international institutions.

Kenya is an elected member of the UN Security Council for the 2021-2022 period. Kenya’s four broad key priorities are, improving regional peace and security through better global-regional linkage and innovation; sustaining and expanding global action against the threat of terrorism and violent extremism; deploying better mandated and enabled peace support operations; and, building and actioning a global consensus on the link between climate and security.

Kenya takes a Pan-Africanist approach in pursuing these objectives, and is a champion for Africa, the Small Island Developing States, and the Global South. It chairs the Security Council’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, and is also the informal link between the Security Council and the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission.

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE MARITIME DELIMITATION CASE (SOMALIA V KENYA) AT THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE 15TH-24TH MARCH 2021

  1. Kenya has decided not to participate at the Maritime Delimitation Case (Somalia v Kenya) which is currently ongoing at the International Court of Justice. This decision is on account of procedural unfairness at the Court. It is a decision that was made after deep reflection and extensive consultation on how best to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya.

 

  1. In a letter to Mr. Philippe Gautier, the Registrar at the ICJ, Kenya re-affirmed that it was not properly before the court in accordance with its acceptance of the court’s jurisdiction. Kenya outlined that while it had no doubt about the merits of its case, procedural unfairness had left doubt on whether substantive justice would be done. Kenya re-stated that it should not have been dragged to the Court by Somalia merely because of the neighbor’s resurgent expansionist agenda. Kenya also noted that the composition of the membership of the bench conducting the case reinforced concerns of bias, citing the case of Somali Citizen, Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, who sits on the ICJ and who has previously represented Somalia at the Third United Nations Conference on the law of the sea. At the conference the Judge stated that delimitation of the EEEZ and continental shelf should not be effected in accordance to the principle of equidistance but rather by application of equitable principles.

 

  1. Moreover, in affirming and imposing its jurisdiction on Kenya over this matter and failing to appreciate the full extent of Kenya’s reservations in its Optional Clause Declaration under Article 36(2) of the ICJ Statute, the Court, deprived the parties of the opportunity to have the dispute resolved in a suitable, non-adversarial manner, which, in fact Somalia had itself consented to under the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, an instrument that the ICJ has affirmed as a valid treaty.

 

  1. Kenya has also informed the Court that influential third party commercial interests are fueling the case, that threatens to destabilize the peace and security of an already fragile region. The speed at which the matter was rushed before the Court and the players involved in this dispute, pointed to a well-orchestrated strategy of pitting the countries against each other in total disregard to the precarious security situation in the region. Influential third parties are intent on using instability in Somalia to advance predatory commercial interests with little regard to peace and security in the region.

 

  1. Kenya remains confident in its position that there is an existing maritime boundary that was established in 1979. The boundary as established has been respected by both Countries until 2014 when Somalia attempted to repudiate the agreement by dragging Kenya to the International Court of Justice seeking to appropriate Kenya’s maritime space.

 

  1. From the onset, Kenya has advocated for a diplomatic solution. Kenya’s preference for negotiation reflects the African Union Border Programme which encourages States to resolve disputes through bilateral negotiations or within the African Union Peace and Security architecture.

 

  1. Kenya has provided the Court with a comprehensive background to Kenya – Somalia relations underscoring Kenya’s longheld commitment to peaceful and friendly relations despite Somalia’s intransigence and territorial ambitions against Kenya. It undisputable that the Government and people of Kenya have made great sacrifices for their Somali neighbours. Kenya has provided humanitarian relief to hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. Its military has protected the Somali Government from terrorists. The Somali Government was hosted in Nairobi for several years because of insecurity in Mogadishu. It enjoyed generous financial, diplomatic, and military support from Kenya. Its gradual return to Mogadishu was made possible thanks to the thousands of Kenyan and regional troops in the African Union Mission in Somalia (“AMISOM”).

 

  1. Hundreds of Kenyan civilians and security personnel, including a number of Kenyan soldiers, have lost their lives due to, or in the fight against, the Al Shabaab terrorist group. The Kenyan Navy has also played an active role against terrorist activity and piracy off the Somali coast. The UN and the African Union have recognized Kenya’s “huge” and “extraordinary sacrifice” in support of their Somalia.

 

  1. The Government and People of Kenya said feel betrayed that Somalia had brought the case before the ICJ after repudiating a maritime boundary that it had consented to for over 35 years. Somalia has incited hostility against Kenya, and actively contributed to the climate that encourages attacks against Kenyan civilians and against Kenyan forces in Somalia and even threatening their ability to continue to support AMISOM. Somalia has also undermined the fundamental need for stability and predictability of boundaries among States.

 

  1. Any consideration of this equidistant claim sets a dangerous precedent as it will not only reward Somalia’s belligerent conduct but also has the potential of disturbing already established boundaries.

 

  1. Kenya’s concerns have also been exacerbated by previous decisions taken by the Court which has created a perception of unfairness and injustice towards Kenya including amendment by the Court to its rules to allow for hearings to be conducted via video link without consultation of member states prior to the issuance of the hearing dates for this case. Kenya has consistently communicated to the Court its reasons for seeking a deferment of the case including the COVID-19 pandemic conditions that hampered Kenya’s ability to prepare adequately for the hearing.

 

  1. The COVID19 pandemic struck when Kenya had just recruited a new legal team. As such, Kenya and its legal team have not had an opportunity to have preparatory meetings and engagements. The court has failed to appreciate that Kenya is exactly where it was at the beginning of 2020 with regard to its compilation of its international legal team. Without such necessary preparations, Kenya is of the considered view that any participation in the hearing will be nothing more than a perfunctory, cosmetic and symbolic exercise. The seriousness of the case requires proper and adequate preparation. In Kenya’s view, it would be ill-advised for it to participate in a complex case with far-reaching consequences, without such proper and adequate preparation. These and other related matters have forced Kenya to stand back from the court and to continue to insist that the resolution of this border dispute belongs in its rightful place on the bilateral and or continental platform.

 

  1. It is in view of the foregoing well elucidated reasons that Kenya reached the decision not to participate in the hearings and remains steadfast that this dispute should be withdrawn from the Court and resolved through bilateral negotiations. Kenya also expects Somalia to normalize its relations with Kenya following their unprovoked and unjustified decision to sever diplomatic relations with its neighbour. Somalia has to normalize its relations with Kenya before it can engage on any platform anywhere in the world with any person and or agent of Kenya through any proxy.

 

  1. Kenya has informed the Court that any insistence on its participation in the proceedings, defeats Kenya’s right to a fair hearing. Kenya has collected, and continues to collect substantial additional evidence in this matter. Such evidence will be of value only if Kenya is given ample opportunity to prepare it for proper and effective presentation to the Court. The current timelines – and in the context of the pandemic – have not afforded Kenya such an opportunity.

18th March, 2021

Big four Agenda gets a boost from the International Organizations

Nairobi Thursday March 11, 2020

Big four Agenda gets a boost from the International Organizations

Six newly appointed heads of International Organizations based in Kenya today presented their letters of credence to the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Amb Raychelle Omamo.

The six officials included: Dr Medhin Tsehaiu, Country Director United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Ms. Anna Mutavati, Executive Director,UN Women; Amb Carla Mucavi, Food and Africultural Organziation for the United Nations (FAO); Amb Khalid Mohammed Al Kathiri, Head Of Mission of Mission, League of Arab States; Mohammed Omer Mukheir- Abuzen, Regional Director, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC); and Andrew Chimphondah, Head of Mission, Shelter Afrique.

The Cabinet Secretary welcomed the six officials to Kenya and assured them of support from the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Foreign affairs as they advance their work in Kenya.   

The Cabinet Secretary said that the international organizations working in Kenya bring in a wealth of knowledge, resource and expertise which are key in driving and achieving President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big4 agenda. She urged them to continue working in partnership with the government to achieve their objectives.

Amb. Omamo said she is impressed that the organizations were involved with matters pertaining the big4 agenda which is very dear to the President of Kenya. On the issue of Health, she said she was grateful that the United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) main focus will be on mother to child transmission which is a key component of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“Our first lady is a keen participant in engaging in women healthcare and we are glad you can chip into this initiatives,” said Amb. Omamo.

UNAIDS Country Director Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu said their focus and commitment will be on ending mother to child transmission as she commended the government for ensuring that out of the 1.5 million Kenyans living with HIV/Aids, about 77 percent are receiving the lifesaving Antiretroviral (ARV) medication.

Speaking while receiving the UN women representative to Kenya Amb Omamo informed her of our membership to the UNSC and our role during the two- year term.   “We now seat at the United Nations Security Council where the agenda of women, peace and security is critical and we are already working with the UN Women in advancing this agenda because they are supporting our national action plan.”

The CS highlighted that during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been an upsurge of challenges facing women including gender based violence and the UN women has been a key partner in addressing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages among others.

UN Women Executive Director Ms. Anna Mutavati said her organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of Women is working towards positioning gender equality as a fundamental ingredient to national development and achievement of the sustainable development goals.

“I am pleased to have been posted to Kenya and I will endeavor to champion women empowerment by working to contribute to the government’s efforts to advance gender equality, implement the women peace and security agenda in the country and to contribute to Kenya’s achievement of a just and inclusive society,” said Mutavati.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative to Kenya Amb. Carla Mucavi said that they have laid plans and strategies to work with the Kenya government in the attainment of 100 percent food and nutrition security as proclaimed in the presidents’ big4 agenda.

“We are cognizant of the challenges including Covid-19, desert locusts, climate change, economic downturns among other adversities but we are convinced that working in partnership with relevant stakeholders we will be able to surmount those challenges,” she said.

She added that FAO will continue offering technical support and expertise to the Kenyan government in efforts to fight hunger and malnutrition and ensure the attainment of food security and healthy diet for the entire Kenyan population.

Amb. Omamo on her part said that FAO has been a critical partner in designing policies that are pushing the food security program which is a key component of the big4 agenda.

“Food and nutrition are critical for the advancement of women in our country because women are the main players in agriculture sector, fetching water for the family, in the market place and they are deeply entrenched in the food security paradigm,” said Amb. Omamo.

League of Arab States head of mission Ambassador Designate Dr. Khalid Mohammed Ali al Kathiri said that the Arab League is keen to establish a resident Mission presence in the Republic of Kenya, with the view of strengthening the existing relations between the Arab world and Kenya in various fields, as well as aspects of the Arab-African partnership based on the important position that Kenya occupies in the African continent, within the African Union and Internationally.

Cabinet Secretary noted our historical relationship with the Arab league as the first trading partners in the coast of East Africa.   

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa Mohammed Mukhier said that Kenya and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement have a long history of cooperation.

“We share a strong commitment to the ideals of development, including the vision of communities where there is universal health coverage, affordable housing and food security—among others. We work to enable healthy and safe communities, reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen resilience and foster a culture of peace.  Like your Government, we believe that peace and unity are among the key pillars of a progressive society,” said Mukhier.

He said that the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) has played a central role in the governance of the IFRC and the former Secretary General of the KRCS, Dr. Abbas Gullet, served as the immediate former Vice President of the IFRC. He is currently a member of The Standing Commission of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the permanent statutory body of the Movement and its highest deliberative body. 

Amb. Omamo said one of Kenya’s key priorities as it sits as the UN Security council is the advancement of humanitarian actions and ensuring that Nairobi which has become the hub for humanitarian action plays its role in advancing the affairs of the organizations involved in humanitarian work.

Shelter Afrique Head of Mission Andrew Chimphondah said that the organization was set up in 1982 by 44 African governments, the Africa Development Bank (ADB) and the Africa Re-insurance cooperation to mobilize financial and technical resources for affordable housing and infrastructure development in Africa.

“Our operations are carried out from our headquarters based in Nairobi and I am grateful for the government of Kenya for their continued support and I will work to deepen the relationship with Kenya both as a member state and as a major shareholder,” said Chimphondah.

“I join in the commitment of the Kenyan government in providing affordable housing for their citizens and their belief in support for multi-lateral approaches to aid in resolving the common African challenges,” said Chimphondah.

Amb. Omamo said that Kenya is driving the agenda of affordable housing and the support from Shelter Afrique is very critical not only on the financing of affordable housing but also on building integrated cities.

“We need cities that are able to integrate the rich and the poor so that they can be able to provide services to everyone to produce the new African cities. One thing that the Covid-19 has taught us is that we need to pay attention to our cities because rural to urban migration is on the rise and urban settlements are challenged when we are confronted with crises such as Covid-19 and social distancing becomes a problem and sanitation facilities need to be up scaled,” said Amb. Omamo.

Ends…