Kenya declines Ukraine’s plea to address Parliament

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.

By Kwanta Douglas –

Kenya has declined a request from Ukraine to address Parliament, as Nairobi officials fear being dragged into a conflict with the potential to hurt its bilateral ties with both Kyiv and Moscow.

The details emerged on Monday as Kenyan diplomats in Nairobi argued they have been doing enough already through the UN Security Council.

Ukraine, which has been defending its territory against Russia’s invasion, made the request to address the Kenyan bicameral House in February when Moscow launched what it called a military operation in that country.

But a well-placed source indicated the request was not honoured, with Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs remaining mum despite repeated follow-ups and reminders.

On Tuesday, a senior ministry official told the Business Daily there was no need to allow the speech, adding that Kyiv should make use of the available diplomatic channels.

“Why would they want to address the Kenyan Parliament, for instance? Is there a precedence?” an official asked.

Kenya holds one of the 10 non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council and both Ukraine and Russia see it as critical in deciding issues related to the conflict at the horse-shoe-shaped table in New York.

While Nairobi has used its non-permanent seat on the Security Council to either condemn the invasion or abstain from decisions of both the General Assembly and the Council, it is yet to grant two wishes critical to Kyiv: a top-level meeting involving foreign ministers, and the speech to Parliament.

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