President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a message of condolence to the people and the government of the Kingdom of Bahrain following the death of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman died on Wednesday at Mayo Clinic hospital in the US, according to Bahrain’s state news agency.
In his message of comfort, the president said Khalifa bin Salman was a great friend of Kenya and an astute global leader whose contribution to regional peace processes in the Middle East shall be dearly missed.
“The death of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman is a big blow to the world especially in the Middle East where he was a celebrated peace champion and an icon of tranquility,” Uhuru said.
He added that “As Kenyans, we have lost a comrade, a friend who stood with us and ardently supported our multilateral efforts to ensure peace and stability in Eastern and the Horn of Africa region.”
“At the bilateral level, Prime Minister Salman worked tirelessly to ensure strong ties between Kenya and Bahrain through trade, diplomacy, and people-to-people exchanges,” President Kenyatta eulogised.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, 84, was one of the longest-serving leaders in the Middle East having taken over the premiership in 1970, a year before the Gulf nation attained independence in 1971.
The president also wished the House of Khalifa and the People of Bahrain God’s enduring comfort as they mourn their departed leader.
Khalifa had served as PM since the Sunni Muslim-led island kingdom declared independence from Britain in 1971, almost half a century. The al-Khalifa family has ruled since 1783.
His stern response to pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011 and criticism of similar unrest across the Arab world underlined what for many was the defining characteristic of his career, namely a stalwart defense of the dynastic rule.