Kenya explains why it skipped vote on Russia-Ukraine relations

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Kenya’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr Martin Kimani

By Kwanta Douglas –

Kenya says it stayed away from a vote on whether to debate the actions of the Russian government against Ukraine to avoid escalating tensions and risk diplomatic talks.

In The EastAfrican report, Kenya’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr Martin Kimani, on Monday night explained that Nairobi had abstained, alongside Gabon and India, because the tensions reflected a potential “cold war” between global powers.

The US government had, on the request of Ukraine, proposed a debate on the UN Security Council on the actions taken by the Russian government near the Ukrainian border, which Washington believes could be a threat to global peace and security.

And when Russia objected to the debate, a vote was placed to decide whether discussions could go on. It failed. As is tradition on the Council, all procedural votes require an affirmative vote of at least nine of the 15 members, whether permanent or non-permanent.

Russia and China opposed the vote and Kenya, Gabon and India abstained, meaning they refused to vote on the matter that was to be discussed under the Open Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security.

“We did so to reflect our conviction that the main issue in contention here is the impasse between Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the Russian Federation. We believe that it is imminently solvable and that the diplomatic steps underway already show promise,” the Kenyan envoy told the Council.

“Africa recalls the rejections of compromise, and the search for total victory, that led to the Cold War. We experienced it as a series of hot wars and interventions that deeply damaged our dreams for peace, development, and competent, inclusive government.”

The Cold War refers to the period from immediately after World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when an arms race with the US saw the two powers compete to support warring factions across the world including Africa.

The Kenyan diplomat said Ukraine’s situation is showing similar signs as the US and Nato allies compete with Russia.

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