Kenya signs oil pipeline pact with Ethiopia after Uganda snub

Kenya and Ethiopia have signed a deal for an oil pipeline that will run from Lamu to Addis Ababa under the Lapsset project.

Kenyatta-Desalegn-Ethiopia

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn address a joint press conference following bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi, June 23, 2016. Photo/PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn signed the pact during bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday.

At a joint press conference that followed the talks, Uhuru said Kenya is working closely with Ethiopia on the Lapsset project.

Kenya intended to build the pipeline with Uganda but President Yoweri Museveni opted for an agreement with Tanzania.

Uganda changed tack in March saying it was planning a pipeline from Hoima to Tanga on Tanzania’s coast, prompting a last-minute push by Kenya for another switch.

Kenya and Ethiopia agreed to strengthen their strategic alliance. They celebrated successes in cross-border security through a Joint Borders Administrators Framework, set up to address anti-peace elements.

“We are both committed to actualising the provisions of the sustainable peace agreement we signed last year, which will reduce the vulnerabilities faced by border communities,” Uhuru said.

The two countries have also been working together to stabilise and bring peace to Somalia and the region.

“Today provided an opportunity for us to affirm, deepen and expand our historical partnership,” the President said.

He thanked the PM for his goodwill saying several projects have brought citizens together and opened up opportunities for them.

Kenya and Ethiopia’s relations will be strengthened further through a pact for closer cooperation in sports that will see a Kenya-Ethiopia marathon.

Hailemariam said Ethiopia considers Kenya a strategic partner and a natural friend given the similarities between the two countries.

He said Kenya and Ethiopia are key to the stability of the region and Africa.

“Kenya and Ethiopia are the pillars of the region and we have to work together to stabilise the region,” he said.

“The African continent expects leadership from Kenya and Ethiopia,” the PM said, adding the two will become forces to be reckoned with if they strengthen their ties.

DP William Ruto and Kenyan and Ethiopian cabinet ministers were present.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed read a joint communiqué before the leaders addressed the press.

It contained measures to strengthen the countries’ relationship. Amina and her Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom have been discussing ways to operationalise agreements between the two countries.

Several other bilateral agreements were signed, including ones on oil and gas, health, sports, cross border cooperation in animal health and sanitary measures, and education.

Uhuru and Hailemariam will later attend a Kenya-Ethiopia Business Forum at the Hotel Intercontinental.

The President and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta will tonight host a a state banquet in honour of the visiting Prime Minister and his wife Roman Tesfaye.

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