President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Nations boss Antonio Guterres address the press in State House, Nairobi. (Photo: PSCU)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and United Nations boss Antonio Guterres have appealed for support to stabilize Somalia and neutralise Al Shabaab’s threat in the horn of Africa.
The leaders urged the international community to seize the environment created by the new administration to restore peace in the country that has continued to struggle under the grip of civil war and terror threats for decades.
Uhuru and Guterres held a bilateral meeting at State House in Nairobi for about one hour, where they discussed the need for more funding to the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) as well as the issue of the close to 400,000 Somalia refugees in Dadaab.
The two leaders further discussed the ravaging drought that has affected arid and semi-arid parts of Kenya and Somalia. UN together with the Red Cross have been working to respond to the crisis that is now life threatening in some parts of the country.
Uhuru said Kenya still holds its policy of repatriating the refugees, and announced there will be an extra-ordinary summit by IGAD Heads of State to seek durable solution to the refugees.
The UN Secretary began his visit to the country by visiting Dadaab.
“Our policy has been clear for some time. The events that led to the establishment of Daadab are a terrible tragedy. The best response to that tragedy is to help the refugees to return and rebuild their nation,” said Uhuru when they addressed a joint press briefing.
“Our efforts to hasten the repatriation and resettlement of the refugees continue. As always, those efforts remain guided by the relevant domestic and international laws and agreements,” he added.
The government had last year suspended the process of returning the refugees to May this year but before the High Court the exercise as unconstitutional and discriminative.
Uhuru’s administration has attributed increased terror threats to the country to the camp, which the government says has become breeding ground for terrorists.
“Indeed, on the 25 March, we will host an Extra-Ordinary Summit, bringing together IGAD Heads of State and Government, as well as friends and partners of the region, to discuss durable solutions to the plight of Somali refugees,” he said.
The President said his administration was ready to “consult, and ready to listen to the views those who wish Somalia and the region well.”
Guterres pointed out the pivotal role Kenya is playing in trying to restore peace in neighbouring countries of South Sudan and Somalia.