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Bush Names Veteran Envoy To Take Over ‎Kenya Office

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By Somalilandtimes network

A top Africa specialist in the State Department has been nominated by President George W Bush as the next US ambassador to Kenya.

Mr. Michael Ranneberger, currently the senior State Department representative for Sudan, would succeed Mr. William Bellamy, who has served as Washington’s envoy to Nairobi since July 2003. Mr. Ranneberger, 56, is expected to be confirmed by the US Senate within the next couple of months.

President Bush’s choice of a veteran diplomat who recently held the number-two post in the State Department’s Africa bureau indicates that the United States still views Kenya as vital to US interests in Africa.

Mr. Ranneberger will likely continue to emphasize the Bush Administration’s concerns with corruption and democracy-building in Kenya while nurturing the two countries’ partnership in combating terrorism in East Africa.

Hear complaints

But the nominee will also hear complaints from Kenyan officials regarding the long-standing US warning on tourist travel to Kenya. Mr. Ranneberger will likewise be challenged on the American policy of withholding some forms of military aid in retaliation for Kenya’s refusal to sign an accord shielding US personnel from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Ranneberger praised Kenya’s political progress in a December 2004 interview with the Nation’s sister publication, The EastAfrican.

He called the 2002 multi-party elections "clearly a major step forward" and hailed the "expanded role of civil society, highlighted by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Kenyan" (Prof Wangari Maathai). But he added in that interview: "Much more remains to be done in fighting corruption."

Mr. Ranneberger has also served as US ambassador to Mali and deputy chief of mission in Somalia among other diplomatic positions.

Mr. Ranneberger also has extensive experience in Latin America.

Source: The Nation

Publication Date: 03/13/2006


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