Ruto: Ethiopia still needs Abiy Ahmed for Tigray war to end
NAIROBI, Kenya - Newly elected Kenyan President William Ruto insists that the federal republic of Ethiopia still needs Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for the ongoing war to end, with the remarks coming at a time the country is struggling to gain stability after months of unrest.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Ruto, who took over as president this month, maintained that it will not be a good idea to hound Abiy Ahmed from the office at the moment, adding that such a move would instigate stability in the country which had been enjoying peace.
The Kenyan president said it will be unfortunate if Abiy Ahmed is forced to leave before the Tigray conflict is settled, adding that the world should not harshly judge him based on previous gains, particularly the Nobel Peace Prize fortunes of 2019, which has seen criticism intensify.
"I do not want to meddle with internal issues of Ethiopia," Ruto said when asked if Abiy Ahmed should vacate office. "All I know is that Ethiopia should stabilize but this cannot happen if Abiy Ahmed is not fully involved. He's a critical player in the entire process."
The Kenyan president insisted that he's worried about the current situation in the country, noting that insecurity in Ethiopia could trigger instability in Kenya. According to him, a weak Ethiopia weakens Kenya, thus the need for Nairobi to make a quick intervention.
"We are very concerned, very concerned because that's our neighborhood. Whatever happens in Ethiopia gets to Kenya. We are the two largest economies in that corner, and therefore a faltering Ethiopia weakens Kenya...it's important for us to get involved."
Already, William Ruto has appointed his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta to take over as the lead negotiator in Ethiopia, a role which Uhuru, whom he rubbed shoulders with, has not confirmed if he's ready to take over. But before his exit from office, Uhuru was actively involved in regulating the process.
Fighting has intensified in the last couple of weeks in the Tigray region with Ethiopian troops with the help of Eritrean forces reportedly bombarding the Tigray region. In response, Tigray People's Liberation Front has activated defense on all fronts, inflicting losses on the invasion teams.
Elsewhere in Ethiopia, amid a communication blackout, the Ethiopia Human Rights team says more than 100 civilians were killed in recent violence in western Oromia This latest massacre is compounded by a communication blackout imposed by the federal authorities.