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Cablegate: Kenya: Kinnock's January Visit to Nairobi And

VZCZCXRO6001
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHLO #0065/01 0121718
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121718Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4609
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI PRIORITY 0519
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 3565
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 2791
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 3928
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000065

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2020
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM KE UK
SUBJECT: KENYA: KINNOCK'S JANUARY VISIT TO NAIROBI AND
KIBAKI'S FEBRUARY VISIT TO THE UK SUBJECT: KENYA: KINNOCK'S JANUARY VISIT TO NAIROBI AND KIBAKI'S FEBRUARY VISIT TO THE UK Classified By: Political Counselor Robin Quinville, reasons 1.4 (b/d).

1.(C/NF) Summary. Foreign Office Africa Minister Baroness Kinnock arrives in Kenya January 13 and plans to push forward the reform agenda on her three-day visit, which will serve as a preparatory meeting for President Kibaki's February 23-24 visit to London. Horn of Africa team leader Chloe Hamborg acknowledged it was a "difficult decision" to extend the invitation to Kibaki but indicated that the UK government ultimately decided in favor of the visit in order to "deliver tough political messages" (including through a one-hour one-on-one meeting with UK Prime Minister Brown) and to "extend the UK's diplomatic leverage" in Kenya. Within the EU, Hamborg said the UK's decision to ban the issuance of visas to certain Kenya officials raised eyebrows and has caused France and Germany to ask for more information about the UK's analysis that led to the bans. Italy and Germany remain very cautious about extending the ban to all EU countries. The UK intends to circulate a non-paper to EU and other partners to explain its visa policy in the hopes of educating EU members about the political situation in Kenya and of garnering support to extend the ban across the EU. While it remains unclear exactly why the UK Government decided to invite Kibaki to the UK, it may be an attempt to re-gain some political clout in Kenya after what many see as the lackluster role the UK played in the aftermath of the electoral crisis. End summary.

Kinnock Visit to Kenya ----------------------

2.(C/NF) Foreign Office Horn of Africa team leader Chloe Hamborg told poloff January 12 that Foreign Office Africa Minister Baroness Kinnock arrives in Kenya January 13 as part of her orientation to her new Africa portfolio and in order to prepare for President Kibaki's February 23-24 visit to London. During her three-day visit, she plans to push forward the reform agenda by discussing constitutional and electoral reform.

Kibaki to London ----------------

3.(C/NF) Hamborg said it was a "difficult decision" to extend the invitation for Kibaki's visit to London, which he had been requesting for over a year. Ultimately, she said the UK Government decided in favor of the visit in order to "deliver tough political messages" and to "extend the UK's diplomatic leverage in Kenya." She said Kibaki will have a one-hour one-on-one meeting with UK Prime Minister Brown, where Brown plans to discuss the reform agenda and the coming elections. Hamborg explained that the UK wanted to grant the visit, which is clearly perceived as a carrot for Kibaki, in anticipation of difficult conversations about reform over the coming year. The UK wants to clearly deliver its reform messages in private before it does so in public. Hamborg said there will be few deliverables from the visit -- possibly some development projects on health or climate change. She noted that the health package was also in the pipeline and may only be announced during the Kibaki visit.

The EU and Kenya ----------------

4.(C/NF) Hamborg said the UK's decision to ban the issuance of visas for certain Kenya officials had raised eyebrows amongst some EU member states especially as the UK works with EU partners to extend the ban across the EU. (A full list of the individuals the UK will not issue visas to has been emailed to AF/E.) France and Germany have asked the UK for more information about the analysis that led to the decision to ban the visas. Italy and Germany, Hamborg noted, have been "very cautious" about support to extend the visa ban to all EU members and about strong statements about the domestic political situation in Kenya, in large part because they want continued Kenyan support for the prosecution of pirates.

5.(C/NF) The UK plans to circulate a non-paper to EU and other partners to explain its visa policy in the hopes of educating EU members about the political situation in Kenya and of garnering support to extend the ban across the EU, possibly later in the week Hamborg said. She said initial discussions in November 2009 within the EU about the visa ban LONDON 00000065 002 OF 002 were "very difficult." She said the UK plans to be more proactive, explaining to EU members (many of whom do not watch Kenya very closely) about the stalled reform agenda and the potential political difficulties coming around the electoral period.

Comment -------

6.(C/NF) While it remains unclear exactly why the UK Government decided to invite Kibaki to the UK, it may be an attempt to re-gain some political clout in Kenya after what many see as the lackluster role the UK played in the aftermath of the electoral crisis. While it also remains unclear if much leverage will be garnered from such a visit, Foreign Office officials are clearly preparing for what they think will be a year of difficult political messaging to the Kenyan Government. They are also ramping up their engagement within the EU on Kenya in the hopes of garnering early support for their analysis and in preparation of potential sticks to encourage reform. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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