By Duncan Miriri
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya is “disturbed” by comments about President William Ruto reportedly attributed to the United Nations deputy secretary-general in a leaked U.S. classified document, a senior Kenyan official said on Friday.
The BBC, citing a leaked document, reported this week that Amina Mohammed told U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in February that Ruto was “ruthless” and that she “doesn’t trust him.” Nairobi is a key hub for U.N. operations.
Reuters has not independently verified the documents’ authenticity.
When asked about Mohammed’s reported remarks, senior Kenyan foreign affairs official Korir Sing’oei described it on Friday as “disturbing,” while also noting that “Kenya abhors the surveillance of the leadership of the United Nations.”
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Ruto will continue with his international efforts to tackle climate change, reform global financial institutions and offer leadership on regional peace and security issues, Sing’oei said.
“The president will therefore not be distracted by the information contained in tainted leaked memorandums,” he said.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday there had been a “horrendous distortion” of Mohammed’s comments, which has been “taken out of context.”
“She has the highest regard for President Ruto and his leadership,” said Dujarric, adding that Mohammed will visit Nairobi later this month on a pre-planned trip, in which she will meet the president.
Kenya’s U.N. Ambassador Martin Kimani told Reuters on Friday he had spoken to Guterres and Mohammed “to seek clarity on the import of their concerning reported sentiments” and to express Kenya’s opposition to the surveillance of the secretary-general.
Kimani said the surveillance was contrary to the founding U.N. Charter, other international laws and acceptable practices.
“I was reassured by their strong expressions of support, fellow feeling and strong partnership with Kenya and, especially, their respect and regard for President William Ruto,” Kimani said.
(Reporting by Duncan Miriri in Nairobi and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Richard Chang)
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