Kenya has climbed down in its stance on the ongoing conflict between Israeli forces and Hamas, demonstrating a more diplomatic and humanitarian approach.
The East African country, along with over 120 nations, voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.
This change in position is notable, as Kenya had previously taken a harder stance, condemning Hamas attacks on Israel.
However, the UN General Assembly vote, which Kenya supported, reflects the country’s commitment to a peaceful resolution in the Middle East.
Kenya’s UN envoy, Martin Kimani, mentioned that Kenya voted in favor, as the text was adjusted to include language on terrorism, address both Israeli and Palestinian victims, and support the two-state solution.
Kenya also supported a Canadian amendment condemning the “terrorist attacks by Hamas that began on 7 October in Israel and the taking of hostages.” The resolution called for the safety, well-being, and humane treatment of the hostages and their immediate and unconditional release.
The United States, a close ally of Israel, and Kenya were among the 14 nations that voted against the resolution.
Ukraine, a nation seeking global support against Russian aggression, abstained from voting, as did Haiti, which is grappling with a humanitarian crisis.
Kenyan President William Ruto, who initially criticized Hamas for its attacks on Israel, has now called for both sides to de-escalate the conflict.
Speaking at a forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Ruto emphasized the widespread human cost of the ongoing violence.
Ruto stated, “Every human being’s life is sacred. We should find ways to resolve issues and deal with conflicts without shedding human blood.” He made this plea while addressing the current geopolitical tensions during the 7th Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Saudi Arabia.
Ruto highlighted Kenya’s own history of struggle for independence and experiences with terrorist attacks, emphasizing the need to protect the sanctity of human life.
He argued that conflicts should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy rather than through armed conflict.
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