U.S. Leader Leaves for Ethiopia Forum

US President Barack Obama yesterday wrapped up his three-day visit to Kenya.

He left the country for a two-day visit to Ethiopia, where he is expected to address an African Union meeting on Tuesday.

Obama’s Air Force One took off from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Terminal Two at 4.27pm en route to Addis Ababa.

Marine One and V22 Osprey helicopters followed Obama’s jet 12 minutes later.

Unlike his arrival on Friday evening, the President was flown directly to the airport by the Marine One, escorted by two V22 Osprey helicopters.

JKIA was put on virtual lock-down, for ease of passage of Air Force One jet through Kenya’s airspace.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretaries and other senior government officials were at the airport to see off Obama.

Like it was for Kenya, Obama will also be the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia.

He will also become the first US leader to address the AU, the 54-member continental bloc.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said it would be a “historic visit” and be a “concrete step to broaden and deepen the relationship between the AU and the US”.

Obama arrived in Addis Ababa at 6pm East African time.

Obama was accompanied by his National Security Advisor Susan Rice, foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes, White House spokesman Josh Earnest and other US officials.

Before his departure, he addressed Kenyans at the Kasarani Gymnasium and later met civil society organisations at the Kenyatta University, including Muhuri and Haki Africa, whose accounts remain frozen on alleged terror links.

Obama is set to holds talks with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

He is expected to discuss the South Sudan conflict and confronting al Shabaab in Somalia.

Also present during the sendoff for Obama were chairmen of Parliamentary Departmental committees Foreign Affairs and Internal Security, Ndungu Githenji and Asman Kamama respectively.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua was in attendance.

Obama said he will not forget his visit to his father’s country.