AU talks over Kenya deferral ‘going well’
African Union officials are holding talks with United Nations Security Council members in the run-up to an “interactive dialogue” on Thursday on the AU request for a deferral of The Hague cases against Kenya’s leaders.
The AU delegation representing all of Africa’s geographic regions met on Monday with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as with the ambassador of Russia, one of the Security Council’s five veto-wielding members.
Talks took place on Tuesday morning in New York with the UN envoys of China and Russia, said Kenyan Ambassador Macharia Kamau. He added that meetings were scheduled for later on Tuesday with the ambassadors of the United States and United Kingdom.
The discussions are “going rather well,” the Kenyan envoy said.
The UN chief and the Security Council delegates are demonstrating “a sense of understanding” of the African Union’s position, Ambassador Kamau said.
“The most important message is that everything changed on October 12,” Kenya’s representative added.
He was referring to the day on which the AU adopted a resolution calling for a deferral of the International Criminal Court proceedings involving President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
The full 15-member Security Council and the AU delegation led by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will engage in a “collective interaction” on Thursday, Ambassador Kamau said.
No decision on the deferral request will be made at that time, he noted.
The Security Council is expected to meet early in November in closed session to consider whether to use its power to grant a one-year postponement of the trials of President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto, Ambassador Kamau added.
China, which is believed to be receptive to the AU request, will hold the Security Council presidency in November.
The council rejected a Kenyan request for a deferral in 2011. But as a result of the consultations with the AU taking place this week, “We expect the council to be much better able to make a more judicious decision,” Ambassador Kamau said.
Asked if a decision could be expected prior to the scheduled start of President Kenyatta’s trial on November 12, Ambassador Kamau said “the significance of that date is not lost on the Security Council.”-nation