Kenya, US sign ports pact

April 15, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 15 – Kenya and the United States have entered into partnership to stop terror at the ports by halting illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials.

US ambassador Michael Ranneberger has told Capital News that once he and Kenya’s Finance Minister sign the deal later on Wednesday the Megaports initiative will safeguard Kenyan waters.

“What we are going to do is help the Kenyan government with technical assistance and put in place mechanisms particularly to monitor the flow in and out of the port things like weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

The American envoy said the deal will provide for thorough security screening at all major ports.

The initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy\’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the Kenya\’s Finance Ministry applied to the port of Mombasa and Kilindini.
 
The Megaports Initiative in Mombasa is hoped to provide increased maritime security to international shipping as well.

 “In this day and age, terrorists are always looking for places of soft target as means of transit. This is a way of trying to shut that down. We have already got this agreement with about 20 or 25 countries around the world so Kenya is right at the fore front of this,” the envoy said.

Mr Ranneberger explained that the system is part of the global cooperation to try to strengthen the security of ports across the world and signifies ‘the continuing growing relationship between the United States and Kenya.’

He explained that the cooperation between the American government and Kenya is based on a common agenda and as such there is need for fundamental reforms in the East African country.

“This partnership between my country and Kenya is based on shared democratic values and that means that we expect the Kenyan government to move ahead on the reform agenda,” he explained.

“You are not going to have a stable economy in this country and you are not going to be able to avoid the problems that you (Kenya) had last year (post election violence) unless there is really fundamental reform.”
 

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