LONDON, Aug 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has assured the international community that Kenya will not degenerate into sectarian and religious fighting as a result of recent terrors attacks that appeared designed to cause tension between different faiths.
Saying Kenya is not in danger of falling into the hands of religious fundamentalists, Odinga asked the international community to focus instead in restoring the hope and the rule of law in neighbouring Somalia and helping refugees return home.
The PM made the appeal during a meeting with Britain’s Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague and the Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham at the Foreign Office early on Friday.
Odinga said that contrary to routine predictions, the recent attacks on churches in Garissa have instead strengthened the bonds between Muslims and Christians and brought the two faiths together to fight terrorism.
“While the attacks appear to have been intended to create a wedge between the two religions, they have instead led to stronger bonds. The week following the attacks, Muslims joined security forces and others Christians to guard the churches in Garissa and other areas,” the PM said.
Odinga said there is good progress in Somalia and the international community needs to focus on ensuring the political program in the country is followed to the letter.
The PM at the same time asked the international community to implement the agreements reached during the recent climate negotiations in Rio de Janeiro on the status of the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme.
Odinga further said that despite the agreements in Brazil over UNEP, Kenya is still keen to have the UN body upgraded to the status of an international organization with the sole authority to regulate environmental issues and to have it retained in Nairobi.
He thanked the UK and the European Union for supporting Kenya’s push to have UNEP upgraded and retained in Nairobi saying the support led to the gains on the issue.
Among the agreements reached at the climate change talks in Brazil early this year included opening up membership of the UNEP to all nations and allowing it access to regular UN budget.
The PM appealed to the UK to help push for the UN to adopt the agreements and to continue supporting Kenya’s bid to have UNEP transformed in to a world environmental organization.
Hague pledged continued British support for Kenya’s demands on UNEP.
The Foreign Secretary also pledged to push for a fulfilment of the international community’s obligations to Kenya’s forces in Somalia.