Kenya, Ethiopia sign oil pipeline deal

 

By AGGREY MUTAMBO

Kenya and Ethiopia on Thursday signed a new deal on construction of an oil pipeline.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn signed the agreement on the proposed pipeline that would run from Lamu to Addis Ababa.

The deal means that the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) project launched in 2012 is still on.

On Thursday, President Kenyatta told reporters that the construction of Lapsset-related facilities will be “fast-tracked.”

These facilities include linking roads between the two countries, an international airport in Isiolo town and a sea port in Lamu.

Kenya was left in the cold after Uganda and Rwanda opted to use the Tanzania route for transport projects.

Uganda chose to use Tanzania for its oil pipeline route. Rwanda announced it had also opted for Tanzania in building its standard gauge railway.

Both countries argued it would be expensive to build the facilities through Kenya, which also could not guarantee security for them.

On Thursday, the Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders said the commitment to Lapsset is still strong and vowed to speed up the construction.

They signed five agreements on energy, animal health, education and sports.

To improve relations further, the two countries will also hold an annual joint marathon event.

Ethiopia and Kenya have produced some of the best long-distance athletes in world championships.

(Editing by Beatrice Obwocha)

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