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Kenya’s Outgoing UN Ambassador Hailed as He Leaves Office
Kenya’s Outgoing UN Ambassador Hailed as He Leaves Office
| May 13, 2024

Martin Kimani, Kenya’s outgoing ambassador to the United Nations, assumed the position in December 2020 and presided over a session of the United Nations Security Council in October 2021. Photo: Handout 

Kenya’s top diplomat at the United Nations, Martin Kimani, on Monday announced the conclusion of his tenure after more than three years leading the Kenyan mission in New York.

In a statement shared on X platform, Kimani expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve Kenya, highlighting his 12-year dedication to diplomacy, counterterrorism, regional security, and mediation.

“Today, I end my term as Kenya’s Permanent Representative after 1257 days. I was honored by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta’s appointment and retention by H.E William Ruto. I am proud to have served Kenyans for 12 years in diplomacy, counter terrorism, regional security and mediation,” the diplomat said on X.

Kimani’s final act at the United Nations involved casting Kenya’s vote in favour of granting Palestine full membership on Friday.

Nairobi backed Palestine’s quest for full UN membership, recognizing its eligibility and calling on the UN Security Council to review the matter positively.

In a vote by the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, global support for Palestine’s statehood aspirations was gauged, responding to a recent US veto in the UN Security Council.

Following the vote, Kimani emphasised, “We can no more deny others who legitimately seek self-determination than we can deny our nature as a country made from an independence struggle.”

The resolution, backed by 143 votes in favor and nine against (including the US and Israel), with 25 abstentions, falls short of granting full UN membership to Palestine.

However, it acknowledges Palestine’s eligibility to join.

The resolution asserts that “the State of Palestine … should therefore be admitted to membership” and “recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably.”

Kimani bid farewell to Kenyans serving at the mission in New York, along with senior UN officials and representatives from other countries at the UN.

UN Director for Crisis Group, Richard Gowan, bid farewell to Kimani, acknowledging him as “the diplomat,” and hailed him as the incoming head of New York University Center on International Cooperation.

Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor, James Bays, extended his best wishes to Kimani in his new role.

“Thanks for all your time and patience with the press corps,” said Bays on X platform.

He will be remembered as the ambassador who set the bar high at the United Nations.

In February 2022, the diplomat, formerly Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Center boss, gained global attention for denouncing Russia’s recognition of two pro-Russian breakaway regions in Ukraine as “independent states.”

Drawing on Africa’s history, he cautioned against clinging to colonial legacies, highlighting the risks of “new forms of domination and oppression.”

Addressing the UN Security Council, he paralleled the situation to Africa’s own history, stating, “This situation echoes our history. Kenya and almost every African country was birthed by the ending of empire. Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropoles of London, Paris, and Lisbon, with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart.”

In addition to denouncing Russia’s actions, he also served as the president of the United Nations Security Council in October 2021.

Under his leadership, the council focused on addressing insurgencies and political uncertainties in the Sahel, particularly in troubled Mali and neighboring Niger.

He will be succeeded by, Ekitela Lookale, who is awaiting swearing-in and posting to the Kenyan mission in New York city.

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