US pressures Kenya to publicly back Israel or forget FTA: Nairobi

The United States has required Kenya to support Israel’s commercial and political interests or forget a free trade agreement (FTA) with Washington, with activists warning that the inclusion of Israel in the bilateral deal would undermine the Kenyan reputation.

Washington and Nairobi recently resumed trade pact talks after a several-week halt. The US has set a raft of conditions in the ongoing negotiations for the bilateral deal.

In its objectives seen by the Kenyan newspaper East African, Washington has indicated that the conditional deal should, with respect to commercial partnerships, discourage actions that prejudice or discourage business between the United States and Israel.

The White House argues that the FTA should “discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.”

The US also wants the “elimination of politically motivated, non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services, or other commerce imposed on Israel; and the elimination of State-sponsored, unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel.”

“The United States published its negotiating position before negotiations began for all to see. We are negotiating with transparency and openness,” said the US ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, when asked about the inclusion of Israel in the trade talks.

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