Kenya's President, Daniel Arap Moi, returned home on Wednesday (31 January) from his three-day official visit to neighbouring Ethiopia.
Kenya's President, Daniel Arap Moi, returned home on Wednesday (31 January) from his three-day official visit to neighbouring Ethiopia. During the visit, an agreement of friendship and cooperation between the two countries was signed by President Moi and the Ethiopian Head of State, Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Kenya and Ethiopia have a joint defence agreement prompted by their shared suspicion of Somali intentions in the Horn of Africa and the Colonel has promised that his Marxist military government will come to Kenya's aid if she is attacked.
SYNOPSIS: The Ethiopian People's Hero Centre at Debre Zeit received a visit from the Kenyan leader and his entourage of cabinet ministers during their three-day visit. The centre's function is the rehabilitation of war-wounded, and the visit was particularly apt during a tour aimed at strengthening the countries' defence pact.
Ethiopian troops, backed by Cuban and Russian soldiers drove Somali forces out of the Ogaden region after eight months of war and, in the mid-1960s Kenyan security forces fought sporadically with Somali bandits in their border region. Under article five of the new cooperation and friendship agreement which the two leaders signed in Addis Ababa, Kenya and Ethiopia have pledged themselves to oppose any country they believe is pursuing expansionist policies.
The countries are now firmly linked in their opposition to Somalia, their mutual neighbour, but the treaties make a strange marriage of ideologies. Kenya is one of black Africa's most successful capitalist states and Ethiopia has moved to fervent Marxism since the late Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed five years ago. But relations are certainly cordial.
Later on Tuesday (30 January) President Moi accompanied his hosts to Addis Ababa's Victory Monument for a remembrance ceremony, during which he laid a wreath to the fallen soldiers of Ethiopia.
The march-past of Ethiopian troops symbolised, more than anything else, the purpose of the President's visit and the military agreement that now exists between the two nations.