NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 8 – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will visit Kenya on Wednesday for a two-day State visit.
State House Spokeswoman Kanze Dena said Abiy will arrive in the country from Moyale in Marsabit County that borders his country, a departure from a tradition where he lands at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Kenya and Ethiopia share a porous border stretching 861 kilometers traversing Marsabit, Turkana, Wajir and Mandera counties.
“In Moyale, President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed will tour and officially open the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP),” State House said in a statement that announced the visit.
On the same day, the two leaders will visit Lamu County where they will inspect the ongoing construction of the new Lamu Port, an anchor project of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor.
Abiy’s visit to Kenya comes at a time his government is engaged in a security operation in Tigray, the northern part of the county where it has dislodged a militia group.
Abiy announced military operations in the northern region a month ago, saying they targeted the leaders of its ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Last week he declared victory, saying fighting was “completed” after federal forces entered the regional capital Mekele. But the TPLF has vowed to fight on.
The United Nations has decried continued fighting “in many parts” of Ethiopia’s Tigray, complicating efforts to deliver humanitarian aid despite a deal granting the UN access to territory under federal control.
“We have reports of fighting still going on in many parts of Tigray. This is concerning and it’s a complex situation for us,” Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian coordination office, told AFP.
The conflict has claimed thousands of lives, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, and tens of thousands of refugees have streamed across the border into Sudan.
The UN has been warning of a possible humanitarian catastrophe within Tigray, though a communications blackout has made it difficult to assess conditions on the ground.
On Wednesday the UN announced it had reached an agreement to administer aid in areas of Tigray that were government-controlled.
Of particular concern is the fate of roughly 96,000 Eritrean refugees who before the conflict were living in camps in northern Tigray in areas reported to have seen heavy fighting.