Oct 23 2013, 8:44am CDT | by IANS
Colombo, Oct 23 — Kenya has not bowed out from attending the Commonwealth summit next month, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris told parliament here Wednesday, in an effort to stamp out speculation of a boycott by African countries.
International media reports had suggested that Kenya would lobby other African countries not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to take place in November in a move to protest the country's president being tried by the international court on charges of war crimes.
"The Kenyan government has not informed us that they are not attending. There is no indication at all that they will not participate in CHOGM," Xinhua quoted Peiris as telling parliament.
The Kenyan government also categorically refuted the media report that said it was quietly lobbying the African countries in the Commonwealth to boycott CHOGM.
Kenya's ministry of foreign affairs and international trade in a statement said Tuesday that it would like to categorically refute, in its entirety, the content of the article appeared in the local newspaper The Star.
"The story, is to say the least, speculative, malicious and lacks any iota of nationalistic approach to news analysis. The alleged move would be out rightly contrary to our aspiration as a country and contradicts our engagement in multilateral relations, and in particular the Commonwealth," the Kenyan ministry statement said.
The Star article said diplomatic sources had told the newspaper that Kenya was quietly lobbying the continent over the Commonwealth's failure to take a decisive stance against the prosecution of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ministry confirmed that Kenya takes its membership to the Commonwealth very seriously and would not do anything that would jeopardise that relationship.
The Star report said Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia have already been roped into the plan and might give the meeting a miss. It also said that South Sudan and Burundi, which had launched bids to join the Commonwealth, have suspended their bids indefinitely.
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