REGIONAL REPORT

Kenya key EU partner in pursuing regional stability, says Borrell

Says instability calls for likeminded countries to join efforts in security, sustainable development, economic growth and trade.

In Summary

• Borrell took note of the instability in the region and globally, saying it calls for like-minded countries like Kenya and the EU to join efforts

• He held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo during teh joint press briefing at Serena Hotel on January 28, 2022
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo during teh joint press briefing at Serena Hotel on January 28, 2022
Image: MFA

Kenya and the European Union will continue to engage in fostering regional security and stability, the visiting EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has said.

Speaking on Friday in Nairobi, Josep Borrell, who doubles up as the vice president of the European Commission, said Kenya is EU’s key partner in pursuing shared interests — promoting peace and security.

“Kenya is a beacon of stability in a very much troubled region of the Horn of Africa in [promoting] prosperity and stability. Thank you for the strong contribution in Somalia. Thank you for hosting so many refugees,” Borrell said.

Borrell was in Kenya for an official visit from January 27-29.

He took note of the instability in the region and globally, saying it calls for likeminded countries like Kenya and the EU to join efforts in the fields of security, sustainable development, economic growth and trade.

Sudan is on edge after Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok resigned on January 8 following mass protests. This came only months after he was reinstated in November due to international pressure.

Peace in South Sudan is still fragile with inter-community attacks still happening.

This week, deadly inter-communal violence broke out in Jonglei state according to the UN mission in the country, UNMISS.

Some 32 people from the Dinka Bor community were killed, according to preliminary information.

The situation is Ethiopia is still precarious, while Somalia's political deadlock is yet to be solved days to February 25 deadline.

Borrell said Kenya and the EU would work together to overcome the legal and technical difficulties to make the trade agreement better.

The EU leader also said they discussed the Ethiopia crisis, noting that he listened to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s analysis of the situation.

“We praise and support the effort that Kenya has been doing in trying to find a dialogue solution in Ethiopia,” Borrell said.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Presient Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi on January 28, 2022
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Presient Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi on January 28, 2022
Image: PSCU

On her part, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo noted that the EU is a critical partner for peace and stability in the region and confirmed that they discussed Ethiopia in the larger framework of the Horn of Africa.

“When we discuss regional issues, we discuss them in the broader sense. There ware many of the countries in the region that are going through transitional challenges and in all of this we need partnerships to tackle the challenges through collaboration.

“So in regard to Ethiopia, we seek sustainable peace through dialogue and we will continue working with other partners to pass on this message”, Omamo said.

Kenya and the EU have in recent years sustained their ties, particularly in fostering regional peace and security, democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

Meanwhile, Kenya and the EU signed a joint declaration on strategic dialogue.

Omamo and Borrell signed the declaration at State House, Nairobi.

State House said the signing of the declaration is a step forward in strengthening ties between Nairobi and Brussels.

“The declaration will guide Kenya-EU bilateral negotiations in three thematic areas namely peace, security and stability; sustainability including implementation of sustainable development goals; and economy, trade and development,” State House said in a statement.

The signing follows the EU-Kenya strategic dialogue unveiled by President Kenyatta and his European Council counterpart Charles Michel in June last year.

“The leaders expressed confidence, that the new framework for cooperation anchored under the strategic dialogue, will signify the fervour in Kenya’s and the EU's commitment to further strengthen the scope and breadth of our cooperation,” the statement added.

The strategic dialogue provides for regular dialogue at all levels; that is bi-annual consultations at presidential level and annual meetings at ministerial and technical levels, with a view to enable greater engagement and progress monitoring of progress.

The joint statement said the two leaders acknowledged the warm and strong cordial relations between the two countries and discussed other bilateral issues revolving around the Kenya-EU economic cooperation.

Among the issues they discussed include the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and agenda and priorities of the AU-EU summit scheduled in Brussels between February 17-18.

“The two leaders welcomed the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the East African Community and committed themselves to work towards its successful implementation,” the statement said.

Kenya-European Union Development Cooperation Programme 2021-2027 was also launched.

Moving forward, technical experts from Kenya and the EU are expected to develop a roadmap for the implementation of the strategic dialogue.

“In this regard, the relevant authorities of Kenya and the EU will continue to engage with a view to developing a Roadmap for the implementation of the Strategic Dialogue. Kenya and the European Union continue to look forward to reinforcing and deepening their relationship within this framework,” the statement said.