Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Uhuru: Security key to relocation of refugees

President Uhuru Kenyatta is received by the UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds at Lancaster House in London on May 7, 2013. Photo/PPS
President Uhuru Kenyatta is received by the UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds at Lancaster House in London on May 7, 2013. Photo/PPS 
Posted  Tuesday, May 7   2013 at  18:00
Securing peace in Somalia will ensure speedy relocation of refugees back to their home, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He said once the refugees return home, they must find an environment that can support their livelihoods.
The Kenyan President also emphasised the importance of support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
“In this regard, we urge the international community, in particular the United Nations, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, to work in concert to help create this environment,” he said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the Lancaster House during the London Conference on Somalia, a meeting that he said marks the beginning of a new partnership between the East African nation and the rest of the world.
President Uhuru noted that Somali refugees occupy a camp that has a very large population, a situation that poses a humanitarian crisis and security threats to Kenya and the East African region.
He reaffirmed the move by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) to appeal to the international community to develop modalities for safe and orderly return and resettlement of Somali refugees with definite time lines.
He said the political, economic recovery and development, and humanitarian programmes would not be viable without security.
In creating the Somali National Security Forces, President Kenyatta said the process must include the systematic and orderly integration of the various allied forces that are currently engaged in the anti-Al Shabaab war.
“It must also include the orderly reception of Al-Shabaab deserters, their rehabilitation, re-training and integration into the security forces or any other institutions where they will perform productive civilian roles,” he added.
He said the Kenyan Government would support a secure and stable Somalia, citing his recent meetings with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud that sought to advance shared goals.
“In particular, I invited President Hassan to Mombasa during which we agreed on a number of important steps that will safeguard our common interest during the post conflict, peace-building and stabilisation process,” he said.
President Uhuru said Igad heads of State and Government met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where they welcomed the Somali Federal Government’s National Stabilisation Plan.
He urged the international community to support the efforts by Igad to consolidate Somalia.
“The successful conclusion of the Transition Roadmap in August last year and the liberation of large territory from the control of Al Shabaab have widened a window of opportunity for lasting peace in Somalia. Somalia is on course, now more than ever, to lasting peace,” the President said.
The Kenyan President also said it is critical that the process includes the civilian components of the entire justice administration system.
He noted the need for Somlia to develop the necessary capabilities to confront the myriad internal security challenges facing the country, which he said have a ripple effect on the region as a whole.
“Furthermore, we believe that the capacity of Somalia to effectively deal with the internal security situation is a prerequisite for peace and stability,” he said.
The President disclosed that the Kenya Government is in the process of putting in place a diverse and expanded framework for cooperation and assistance as requested by its Somali counterparts.
Noting that capacity building in identified priority areas will be offered under this framework, President Kenyatta said Kenya has already trained more than 2,500 Somali soldiers.
He added that his government would assist in training Somali judicial and financial officers at relevant institutions through a program of secondment to government institutions in Kenya.
“Under my leadership, we offer the world a legitimate partner you can trust, hard at work to deliver an integrated national security plan; economic reform and new financial management systems; rule of law and judicial reform; and an environment conducive to commercial growth,” the Somali President said.
President Kenyatta reiterated his country's commitment to continue to support the Somali Government and appealed to the international community to do the same.
British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated Mr Kenyatta's position and called for a long term security plan to end the Al-Shabaab reign of terror.
He said Britain will commit £10million (KSh1.3B) to help develop Somalia’s armed forces and £14.5 million (KSh1.8B) to employ more police officers and train judges and lawyers.
“Britain will also support the new maritime strategy, enabling full radio connection all along the entire coastline for the first time in 20 years,” the British Prime Minister said.

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