East Africa: President Ruto Recommits Kenya’s Efforts Towards Fostering Regional Peace

Nairobi — President William Ruto has recommitted Kenya’s commitment to take a leading role in safeguarding peace and security in the Horn of Africa amid escalating terrorism threats and geopolitical tensions.

President Ruto said in his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York Wednesday, that Kenya’s engagement over the last two years as a member of the United Nations Security Council has prioritized Regional Peace and Security, Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism and Peace Support Operations.

The Head of State also highlighted the country’s focus on climate as key contributions to collaborative efforts to build a safer, more prosperous, and peaceful world.

“I am also proud to state that Kenya has continued to champion closer cooperation between regional mechanisms and the Security Council as an effective means of achieving international peace and security,” he said.

He further indicated that Kenya continues to advocate for the renewal of the African Union security architecture which he said draws comparative strength from the highly productive complementarity between the United Nations, the African Union, and the Regional Economic Communities.

Working closely with the two other elected African Countries in the UN Security Council, the Head of state told the General Assembly that Kenya is committed to finding a stronger African voice in the Council, and achieving what he described as a “consensus-driven, rule-based multilateral system.”

“It is our manifest intention to see greater Pan-Africanization of the global agenda in order to make multilateralism work for the people of the world in their diversity,” he said.

President Ruto’s pledge comes at a time when some of Kenya’s neighbors, including Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, are embroiled in political turmoil that continues to risk the region’s stability.

To demonstrate his commitment to regional peace, President Ruto announced during his inauguration on September 13, that his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta will continue to lead peace initiatives across the region on behalf of the government of Kenya.

Ruto cited the Ethiopia and conflicts in the Great Lakes further stating that Kenya is committed to partnering with other countries in enhancing peace, security, and prosperity of the East African Region.

“I commit to the peace initiatives in our regions including both in Ethiopia and Great Lakes region, I have asked my elder brother President Uhuru Kenyatta who has done commendable engagements with those regions, and he has graciously agreed to continue chairing discussions on behalf of the people of Kenya,” President Ruto said.

Ruto’s predecessor was on the forefront of the efforts to broker peace between the Federal government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which began in November 2020.

On November 15, 2021, the immediate former President made a surprise visit to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, where he held a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Officials said the meeting was centered on the need to end hostilities and hasten peace by ending a long-running conflict with Tigray rebels.

Two months ago on June 16, while commenting on the security situation in the DRC, Kenyatta called for the deployment of a regional force to restore security in the war-ravaged country situated in the Central Africa region.

In the case of the South Sudan conflict, Kenya has hosted some of the key peace talks between the warring groups.

One of the engagements occurred in December 2021, when South Sudan peace talks led by the Community of Saint’Egidio, a Catholic association of laypeople dedicated to social service, agreed on the full inclusion of opposition groups in ceasefire monitoring by March 31.

The representatives of the Parties to the Rome Declaration 2020, The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGONU), and the South Sudanese Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) parties Real SPLM and SSUF/A made the resolution following a four-day technical workshop in Nairobi.

Saint’Egidio-led talks agree on full inclusion of S. Sudan opposition in ceasefire monitoring

In 2013, a deadly internal conflict erupted in South Sudan two years after it got its independence prompting an intervention by regional players to broker peace.

In respect to Countering Violent Extremism, the Kenyan military is among the forces currently serving under the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) umbrella alongside troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Uganda and are tasked with helping Somali forces fight the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group, Al-Shabaab which continues to wreak havoc in the region.

Kenyan troops first entered Somalia in 2011 when the country launched a military offensive against the Al-Shabaab in an operation code-named “Operation Linda Nchi.

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