News-Update

Ruto deletes tweet cutting ties with Sahrawi

President William Ruto appeared to make a u-turn on Kenya’s diplomatic ties with Sahrawi which he had on Wednesday evening announced had been rescinded.

Less than an hour after making the announcement on his Twitter account adding that Kenya would close down its presence in the Northern country, the President deleted the tweet.

“At State House in Nairobi, received congratulatory message from His Majesty King Mohammed VI. Kenya rescinds its recognition of the SADR and initiates steps to wind down the entity’s presence in the country,” the deleted tweet read.

A second tweet stating; “Kenya supports the United Nations framework as the exclusive mechanism to find a lasting solution of the dispute over Western Sahara,” remains on Ruto’s account.

The Kingdom of Morocco however confirmed the move in a statement shared on their website and stated that it intends to strengthen bilateral diplomatic relations and strategic partnerships over the next six months, and that the Republic of Kenya intends to open an embassy in Rabat.

The Kingdom of Morocco said that the two countries resolved to quickly expedite economic, commercial, and social contacts, particularly in the fields of fishing, agriculture, and food security, including fertilizer imports.

President Ruto assured Kenyans at his inauguration that fertilizer pricing would be resolved, with an immediate price adjustment from Ksh 6,500 to Ksh 3,500 beginning next week.

Morocco has a huge fertilizer industry with enormous production capability and global reach. Following Russia, China, and Canada, it is one of the world’s top four fertilizer exporters.

Kenya and the SADR established diplomatic ties in March 2005, with former President Mwai Kibaki receiving credentials from the ambassador of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic to Kenya.

However, in October of the same year, the Kenyan government suspended diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic established an embassy in Nairobi in February 2014.

The SADR Foreign Minister, former Kenya Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and other members of the diplomatic corps attended the ceremony. Kenya then had a diplomatic tiff Morocco over the issue.

The SADR, which declared independence in 1976, is an outgrowth of the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi organization that advocates for Western Sahara’s independence from Morocco.

The United Nations classifies this former Spanish colony as a “non-self-governing territory.”

Morocco controls 80% of the land and favors autonomy under its own authority, whilst the Polisario independence rebels, backed by Algeria, want a referendum on self-determination.

Notably, President Brahim Ghali of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was present at President Ruto’s inauguration on September 13, 2022.

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