Kenya PM in plea over Somalia

June 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – Kenya on Monday said it would not rush to provide military reinforcement to bolster security in war torn Somalia, but urged the international community to address the crisis in the Horn of Africa nation.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga told his counterpart from Somalia Omar Abdirashid that Kenya would focus on marshalling support for the transitional government from other countries.

"There is an IGAD resolution which actually restricts the immediate neighboring countries from sending troops to Somalia.  That is why I am calling for international cooperation to this matter," he said.

However he said Kenya will continue to actively support Somalia.

He announced that Kenya would discuss the crisis in Somalia in its Cabinet meetings and would soon release a report which will also outline the mode of assistance it will offer.

He also downplayed continued threats by the Al-Shabaab militia saying "they are threatening to bomb us but we don’t want to respond to Al Shabaab at all.  Their remarks are confined to themselves."

He appealed to the international community to offer practical solutions that could bail out the Transitional Federal Government from the recent wave of attacks by militia factions sympathetic to the cause of the Al Qaeda terrorist group

He accused them of failing to live up to the promise of contributing $213 million towards rehabilitating Somalia during a recent conference in Brussels.

He also asked them to help Kenya deal with the influx of refugees who he said were fleeing into the country in thousands, a situation which he pointed out was overwhelming.

The Premier said that Kenya had already secured land that could be used to expand the Dabaad refugee camp.

The problem of piracy which has lately been on the increase was also another concern raised by Mr Odinga.

He said due to hijacking of ships, insurance companies had increased premiums hence affecting trade in the country.

Mr Odinga also used the opportunity to call on Kenyans and other countries to learn from Somalia and value peace.

"What is happening in Somalia is a very vital lesson, the need for the people to tolerate each other.  Here is a country where people speak one language, have one religion, one culture, but the nation is now it tatters," he said.

He went on to say: "So many conferences have taken place but people cannot make compromises, agree to power sharing to move the country forward.  This is important."

He said prioritising the reform agenda in Kenya was a guaranteed way of cementing permanent peace in the country.

He also challenged the people of Somalia to tolerate each other and agree on an amicable way to restore peace.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid who led a delegation of six top Somali officials pleaded for intervention from Africa and the international community saying the situation was getting worse day by day.

"In the last few days Somalia is facing a very hard situation.  We have a large inflow of fighters that are now leading the fight against the government.  We require security forces to help the security in Somalia," he said.


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