President William Ruto starts four-day State visit to DRC, South Korea

President Ruto

President William Ruto.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

President William Ruto Sunday evening began his four-day State visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and to the Republic of South Korea.

President Ruto will  on Sunday evening for a one-day official visit to Kinshasa amid efforts to try to bring peace in the country.

In a statement from State House Spokesperson, Hussein Mohamed, President Ruto will hold talks with Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi on various issues including the security situation in eastern DRC, before heading to South Korea later Monday.

“President William Ruto will this evening depart the country for a one-day official visit to the DRC. The President will hold bilateral talks with his host President Felix Tshisekedi on areas of mutual interest, including trade and investments, regional integration and the security situation in Eastern DRC,” read part of the statement.

The State House said Kenya is playing a crucial role as a member of the East African Community in support of the ‘Nairobi Peace Process’, that involves talks between the government of DRC and the armed groups in the Eastern part of the country, to restore peace and security in Eastern DRC.

Kenya has sent its troops for a peacekeeping mission in the region, as part of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) and is due to host peace talks in the coming days,.

His visit comes on the heels of a trip by Ruto's predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, who is mediating in the DR Congo crisis on behalf of the regional East African Community bloc.

Fighting has been raging in the east as the M23 rebel group makes territorial advances, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes.

The Kenyan troops will join others from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania on the mission in Eastern DRC.

This comes as M23 rebels and DR Congo troops clash heavily in North Kivu province.

Over 120 armed groups are active across the mineral-rich eastern Congo, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the century.

The M23 rose to prominence in 2012 when it captured the main eastern city of Goma, before being driven out and going to ground.

But it re-emerged late last year, claiming Kinshasa had failed to honour a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.

After holding talks with President Tshisekedi, President Ruto later on Monday will embark on a three-day official visit to the Republic of Korea for bilateral talks with His Excellency President Yoon Suk-Yeol.

The President will explore partnerships in key sectors of the government’s economic transformation agenda, including agriculture, energy, infrastructure and public health, with engagements that will culminate to the signing of trade agreements between the two nations. 

Kenya will also advance negotiations to open markets for her exports as part of growing bilateral trade. Kenya and the Republic of Korea enjoy cordial ties founded on common values, mutual trust and benefit.

Upon taking the instruments of power from his predecessor Kenyatta, Ruto has endevoured to maintain relations with international countries. 

His first foreign trips in September entailed attending the late Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service at the West Minister Abey in London.

He then visited United States where he attended Seventy-Seven session of the United Nations General Assembly.

In October, he attended the launch of Safaricom Telecomunications in Ethiopia, Uganda State visit where he represented the country in the country’s 60th Independence Day celebration. In the same month, he visited Tanzia where he held meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Early this month, he attended the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt.