Abiy, Ruto Cement Ethiopia-Kenya Relations Stronger With 7 More MOUs

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Kenya and Ethiopia solidified their relationship Wednesday through the signing of seven pivotal Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).

The 36th Session of the High-Level Joint Ministerial Commission held in Addis Ababa last week provided a strategic platform for both nations to discuss mutual interests and assess the progress of various cooperation frameworks.

During the State visit of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at State House, the signing ceremony took center stage, marking a collaborative commitment across diverse sectors.

In a joint communique, the two nations will collaborate in cultural development, tourism, wildlife sector, blue economy, reformatory services, petroleum and energy development, and capacity building in the public sector.

President William Ruto and Abiy also engaged in high-level talks aimed at fostering a friendly and cordial atmosphere.

The leaders recalled the deep historical bonds between their nations and focused on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.

The commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation in sectors like Trade and Investment, Agriculture, Fisheries, Transport, ICT, Tourism, Health, Culture, and Forestry was reaffirmed during the discussions.

“More particularly, the meeting committed to the revitalization of the stipulations of the Special Status Agreement of 2012 with special emphasis on trade and investment commitments,” reads the statement.

Acknowledging the need for increased people-to-people interaction and trade facilitation, Kenya announced the issuance of Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to Ethiopian citizens without charge.

Addressing security concerns in the Horn of Africa, Ruto and Abiy highlighted the necessity of maintaining peace, security, and stability for economic growth.

They affirmed their commitment to respect and uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, rejecting unconstitutional changes of government and external interference in African countries’ domestic political processes.

On the international front, the leaders stressed the importance of sustained consultations to build partnerships in the multilateral field.

The two leaders expressed commitment to accelerate the implementation of reforms in organizations like the United Nations to make them more representative, democratic and accountable.

Abiy was last in Kenya on December 9, 2020, on an official visit for the launch of the One-Stop Border Post at Moyale in Marsabit.

His last State visit to Kenya was in June 2018 when he and then-president Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to elevate their ties to strategic levels.

The latest visit signals improved relations between Nairobi and Addis Ababa and offers a new opportunity to explore new avenues of collaboration in the region.

Kenya and Ethiopia share a 60-year-old historical defence agreement, rooted in the friendship between Jomo Kenyatta and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

 

MAUREEN KINYANJUI

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