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Kenya on reform path, Kibaki tells US

NEW YORK, September 23 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday night assured the United States that the Grand Coalition Government had begun the process of entrenching reforms, especially in light of the report compiled by the Independent Review Commission.

The President said parliament had prioritized several crucial Bills to pave way for the achievement of a new constitution, the establishment of a  Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, Ethnic Relations bill and implementation of comprehensive electoral reforms.

“The government is also committed to implementing comprehensive land reforms policies as well as the resettlement of all internally displaced Kenyans to enable them resume their normal lives and continue participating in nation building,” he said at a meeting with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice who called on him at his hotel in New York.

On her part Rice reaffirmed the commitment by the United States of America to support the resettlement of the internally displaced persons residing in various parts of the country.

She said that through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the US government would also support Kenya in programmes aimed at mitigating the effects of the drought being experienced in arid and semi-arid parts of the country.

Another programme identified to benefit from the USAID support is assistance to farmers who had lost their livestock in Rift Valley following the outbreak of a viral disease that has killed many animals.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula, Attorney General Amos Wako and Kenya’s Ambassador to United States Amb. Peter Ogego among other senior government officials.

The US Secretary of State was accompanied by the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance, Henrietta Fore and the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jedayi Frazer.

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Later President Mwai Kibaki and First Lady Lucy Kibaki attended an official welcoming reception hosted by the President of the United States of America, Mr George Bush at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

President Kibaki is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly that officially opened on Tuesday morning.

The Head of State is expected to highlight some of the challenges Kenya and the East African region face as result of the unprecedented high global food prices and oil prices as well as worries over financial instability in the world market.

The President will also highlight areas that Africa looks forward to establishing partnerships with the rest of the world, with regard to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

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