NAIROBI, Kenya July 5 – Kenya and the United Kingdom are set to start negotiations for a Kenya-United Kingdom post Brexit trade agreement.
This was agreed on Saturday, when President Uhuru Kenyatta held private talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The negotiations, which are expected to be finalized ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) on 31st December 2020, will be conducted within the Kenya-UK Strategic Partnership Framework established by the two leaders in January 2020 and the East African Community (EAC) parameters in order to enhance regional integration.
In the telephone conversation, President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Johnson also discussed several Kenya-UK bilateral interests among them the two nation’s response to the global Covid-19 health crisis, State House said in a statement issued after the telephone conversation
“President Kenyatta thanked the British Government for extending visa over-stay amnesty for Kenyan nationals in the UK who cannot travel back due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions until 30th May 2020,” it said.
The visa amnesty, President Kenyatta noted, had enabled Kenyans especially students and workers, to apply for long-term visa renewal in the UK without having to travel back to Kenya as has been the norm.
President Kenyatta further thanked the UK Government for supporting Kenya’s Worker Protection Scheme which he said will benefit garment and horticultural sectors so as to avoid massive staff layoffs during the current Covid-19 global economic disruption.
The two leaders discussed the challenges posed by coronavirus and agreed on the importance of international collaboration in the fight to tackle the virus.
On Britain’s support for Kenya’s successful bid for the recent UN Security Council elections, President Kenyatta thanked Prime Minister Johnson for his country’s endorsement.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott said: “It’s excellent to see a productive call between our two leaders, so soon after Kenya’s election to the UN Security Council.”
“This regular contact reinforces the close relationship between our two countries, as both leaders set out when they agreed the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership in London in January 2020. We will continue to work on mutual prosperity, security and stability, sustainable development, climate change, and strengthening the links between our people,” she said.
In conclusion, the two leaders affirmed their strong support for the Commonwealth and committed to work together to ensure stability, continuity and the deepening of solidarity among Commonwealth nations.