By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 6, 2022 (NAIROBI) – Kenya’s newly elected President William Ruto on Thursday held bilateral talks with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Ruto arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa for his first official visit since taking office.
Upon arrival at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, Ruto was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and other senior Ethiopian government officials.
Ruto discussed with Abiy ways of further bolstering bilateral cooperation between the two countries and other regional issues of common concern.
“Relations between Kenya and Ethiopia are established on strong foundations and cordial cooperation focused on matters of mutual interest,” the Prime Minister tweeted after welcoming the Kenyan leader.
Ruto on his part expressed his country’s desire on exploiting its long-standing relations and proximity with Ethiopia to increase cross-border trade.
“Ethiopia-Kenya partnership is a cornerstone of mutual benefit and regional stability,” said Ruto.
“We are looking for new fronts to pursue common interests in our relationship with Ethiopia”, he added.
Ruto urged Ahmed to make use of the Lamu Port as the home port for the Southern part of Ethiopia.
Both leaders confirmed that they will work for the common prosperity of the two countries, especially in the field of technology.
Meanwhile, Ruto and Abiy attended the official national launch of Safaricom services in Ethiopia.
The Kenyan leader also visited the dome-shaped Africa’s first-ever state-of-the-art science museum which was inaugurated this week.
“The science museum serves as a platform where scientific innovations will be conceived and born to support the growth and development of Ethiopia” said Abiy.
“Built in a short timeframe, the museum offers both young and old a place to inquire, explore, innovate and invent,” he added, stressing that the museum will transform Ethiopia into a digital economy.
Ruto’s visit came a day after both Ethiopian and Tigray leaders announced their acceptance of an invitation from the AU for “peace talks” scheduled to take place in South Africa on Sunday.
During a recent interview with France-24, Ruto said, “Whatever happens in Ethiopia will reach Kenya”.
He expressed his optimism that his newly appointed envoy to Ethiopia, Uhuru Kenyatta would continue to play a positive role in the process to find a peaceful resolution to the Tigray conflict.
“We are very concerned, very concerned because that’s our neighbourhood. Whatever happens in Ethiopia gets to Kenya. We are the two largest economies in that corner, and therefore, a faltering Ethiopia weakens Kenya, so it is important for us to get involved.” That’s why when I took over I asked President Kenyatta, my predecessor, to continue the effort of the process that has started so that we can find a resolution of the conflict in Ethiopia,” he said in the September 23 interview.
He also stated that he had discussions with Ahmed, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, former South African President Thabo Mbeki and the former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Kenyan leader concluded his one-day visit to Ethiopia on Thursday.