Tillerson due to arrive in Kenya on “listening tour”

March 9, 2018 10:45 am
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Turn the page: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at a press conference with the African Union’s Moussa Faki/AFP

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to jet into the country Friday afternoon.

Tillerson who began his maiden tour to Africa on Thursday in Ethiopia, will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and other government officials in bilateral talks aimed at strengthening diplomatic relations between Nairobi and Washington.

Tillerson’s Africa visit includes Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

During his trip, Tillerson plans to discuss ways to counter terrorism, advance peace and security, promote good governance, and spur mutually beneficial trade and investment.

On Thursday, he met with the African Union chief Faki Mahamat who said the continent had moved on from a reported insult by President Donald Trump.

Tillerson and Faki Mahamat discussed security and counter-terrorism, trade and development, corruption and conflict in an hour-long meeting at the continental body’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

But looming over the meeting was Trump’s alleged description of African nations as “shithole countries” in January, which forced the president to pen a letter reaffirming his commitment to the continent.

Faki, however, insisted the slur was now in the past.

Tillerson’s five-nation Africa tour has been described as a “listening tour” with no deals or initiatives due to be announced.

The diplomat met Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu as well as Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned earlier this month amid a political crisis in Africa’s fastest growing economy.

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