'We aren't worried Obama won't visit us'

2013-06-24 09:58
Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta. (File, AFP)

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta. (File, AFP)

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Cape Town – Kenyan government says it is not moved by President Barack Obama’s decision to bypass Kenya on his third official African visit on 26 June, touring Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, according to a report.

Kenyan officials have been quick to point out they do not view Obama’s African itinerary as a snub, according to a report by Timeslive.

"America, just like Kenya, is an independent country and its president has the democratic right to visit wherever he wants," Kenyan government spokesperson Muthui Kariuki said.

"Kenya is moving on with its development agenda and we continue to be part of the League of Nations. We are not worried that he is not coming to Kenya. We are fine."

A US administration official said on condition of anonymity that Kenyatta's election had been a complicating factor in setting Obama's schedule in Africa, but Kariuki dismissed such reports.

"There have been rumours that President Obama is avoiding Kenya because of the ongoing ICC [International Criminal Court] cases," he said. "These are unfounded accusations."

On Thursday, the ICC postponed Kenyatta's trial start until 12 November, but had the earlier date of 9 July stood and Obama had visited Kenya, his trip would have come just days before Kenyatta was due to fly to The Hague.

"Clearly it may not be in the interests of the US administration to meet with our government until they address the issues awaiting them at The Hague," said Kenyan High Court lawyer Willis Otieno.

"Bearing in mind the historic connections linking Obama to Kenya, the decision obviously presents a very bad picture for the country," he added.

Kenyatta is the second African head of state to face trial at the ICC, after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide charges.

Read more on:    international criminal court  |  omar al-bashir  |  uhuru kenyatta  |  barack obama  |  sudan  |  us  |  kenya  |  obama in africa  |  east africa

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