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President William Ruto with Morrocan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita at State House Nairobi on September 14, 2022.

President William Ruto stood his ground and revoked Kenya’s relations with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

In a statement on Wednesday, September 14, after a meeting with Morocco’s Crown Prince Mohammed VI, President Ruto reversed Kenya’s position of recognizing the West African nation that is fighting to withdraw from Morocco and become independent.

“We are accelerating relations with the Kingdom of Morocco in areas of trade, agriculture, health, tourism, energy, among others, for the mutual benefit of our countries,” he said.

The President also explained that he has already initiated the process of suspending the country’s cooperation with Kenya by closing its embassy in Kilimani, Nairobi. The SADR embassy in Kenya opened in 2014.

“At the State House in Nairobi, we received a congratulatory message from His Highness King Mohammed VI. Kenya is revoking the SADR recognition and introducing measures to close cooperation with the country. Kenya supports the United Nations framework as the exclusive mechanism to find a lasting solution of the dispute over Western Sahara,” the President said in a tweet before it was deleted.

The move comes a day after SADR President Brahim Ghali joined other delegates at Ruto’s swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium. Ghali, who arrived dressed in ceremonial clothing, was accompanied by security officers. Prior to Ruto’s decision, Kenya was among the 41 UN member states that recognized SADR as a country and fought to end its conflict with Morocco. SADR has been fighting for its full independence from its current state where it remains semi-autonomous.

In February 2022, President Uhuru Kenyatta convened special talks aimed at discussing and finding a solution to the disputed territory.

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