(L-R) William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya ; Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; Credit: MAEE

On Wednesday 7 June 2023, Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn paid a working visit to Kenya, for the second part of the joint Benelux mission in Africa.

After the working visit to Ghana, the Benelux delegation travelled to Kenya, which plays a pivotal role within the East African Community, as it is the largest economy in East Africa and third largest in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Benelux delegation started the day in Nairobi with a working meeting with EU ambassadors to Kenya, together with Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French State Secretary to the Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships.

The President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto, received Minister Asselborn and his colleagues from the Netherlands and Belgium for a bilateral interview. Defence Minister Aden Duale accompanied President Ruto.

On the agenda of the discussions were the relations between the European Union and Africa, the Benelux cooperation with Kenya, the situation in the Horn of Africa and the war in Ukraine.

Minister Asselborn and his Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, thus discussed the partnership between the EU and Kenya, particularly in the areas of climate, sustainable development and trade.

The Benelux delegation and President Ruto then had an in-depth exchange of views on the security situation in the Horn of Africa region. Minister Asselborn commended the stabilising role that Kenya is playing in the whole region, as well as the fact that Kenya has been hosting numerous refugees from the region for many years. In this context, the discussion focused in particular on the situation in Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia.

The meeting with the President was also an opportunity to discuss the war in Ukraine. The Benelux welcomed Kenya's commitment to respecting the UN Charter and its condemnation of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Minister Asselborn highlighted that the war in Ukraine should not be seen as a purely European war, just as the conflict in Sudan should not be seen as a purely African conflict, given that it is always about the questioning of universal values and respect for international law and of conflicts that affect their region but also the world at large.