On 3rd May, 2012 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya hosted a team from its counterpart in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, to the First Technical Review Meeting of the Kenya-Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
This first review session considered the state of implementation of decisions taken at the 33rd Session of the Kenya-Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting of 2nd June 2011.
The Kenya’s delegation was led by Amb. Michael A.O. Oyugi, Director, Africa and AU Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and comprised of H.E Dr. Monica Juma, Ambassador of Kenya to Ethiopia, Mr. Richard Lemoshira 1st Counsellor at the Embassy of Kenya in Ethiopia, Mr. Weru, Director Trade Directorate at MFA, among others. The Ethiopian delegation was led by Mr. Wondimu Asamnew, Director-General for African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and included among others, the H.E A. Shamshudin, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kenya.
This technical session was opened by Amb. P.S. Wamoto, the Diplomatic and Political Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Kenya who underscored the importance that the two countries attach to deepening and strengthening the historical bonds of friendship for continued mutual benefit. Amb. Wamoto lauded the resounding success of the 33rd Session of the JMC pointing out that it made several practical decisions including the establishment of the technical review mechanism as a means to monitory progress and ensure full implementation of decisions. The Ambassador noted that the pursuit of the implementation of the agreed outcomes of the 33rd Session of the JMC enjoyed political support at the highest levels as elaborated in the outcome of the high successful State Visit to Kenya by H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in March, 2012.
On the Ethiopian side, Mr. Wondimu Asamnew thanked Kenya for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and to the Ethiopian delegation since arrival in Kenya. Mr. Asamnew paid tribute to the long standing fruitful relations as evidenced in the outcome of the just concluded 27th Joint Meeting of the Border Commissioners/Administrators.
On the political front, Mr. Wondimu said that Ethio- Kenyan relations have survived ideological cleavages and political upheavals pointing out that regardless of different political persuasions, these relations had always been cordial. Mr. Wondimu concurred on the need for concerted efforts to realize the huge potential in economic ties between the two countries and highlighted the opportunities existing in deepening cooperation in trade, avoidance of double Taxation, education, tourism, public health, fisheries and on different legal matters. He pointed out that the political leadership of the two states had agreed to establish a special status relationship that could take the relationship between the two sisterly States to a higher level. The Head of Ethiopia’s delegation urged for the completion of the connecting infrastructural network to spur trade ties and lauded the launch of the Lamu Port- South Sudan –Ethiopia Transport Corridor as well as the signing of the agreement on the development of the Standard Guage Railway Network between Lamu Port and Addis Ababa in March, 2012.
During the review, the joint session appreciated the progress made thus far in various areas including defence, trade and customs, security, immigration, energy and roads. It was noted that the State visit to Kenya by H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi had catalyzed the implementation of other decisions notably the boundary inspection and the negotiations of the Special Status Agreement.
The meeting appreciated the highly successful 27th meeting of the Joint Border Administrators/Commissioners’ the outcome of which confirmed the strong mutual commitment between the two countries to resolve the common challenges along the common border and the need to strengthen people-to-people relations.
The meeting took advantage of the occasion to exchange views on regional and other issues of mutual concern in line with the Protocol on Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. Among issues discussed are regional peace and security, regional integration and elections of the African Union Commission.
The next meeting of the Joint Technical Review Committee will be held in Ethiopia after the 34th Session of the JMC, to be hosted by Kenya in September 2012.