Obama says 'timing not right' for his Kenya trip

PRETORIA (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said on Saturday the "timing was not right" for him to travel to Kenya, his father's homeland, during his current Africa tour, but he expected to go there many times in the future.

Obama said the new government of President Uhuru Kenyatta was still finding its feet after an election in March, and that Nairobi was "still working out issues with the international community".

He was referring to a looming trial for Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court for their alleged roles in deadly violence that killed more than 1,000 people after 2007 polls.

"The timing was not right for me as president of the United States to be visiting Kenya when those issues need to be worked on," Obama said.

But the US leader said he had visited Kenya multiple times before he was president and expected to return.

"My personal ties to the people of Kenya, by definition are going to be strong and will stay strong," he said.

Obama's Africa tour started in Senegal, and he is currently in South Africa. He will wrap up his week-long journey in Tanzania.

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