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Kenyan leader sounds alarm over piracy

MOMBASA, Kenya, Apr 20 – President Mwai Kibaki has called for security co-operation of the international community to protect sea transport in the Indian Ocean that is threatened by piracy.

The President expressed concern that the unprecedented rise in piracy was disrupting trade that is the basic lifeline for several African states in the region.

The Head of State who spoke at the opening the Land Forces Symposium in Mombasa, said the issue of regional security need scrutiny in light of conflicts in some parts of the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region.

"Trade and critical imports are seriously threatened by the rise in piracy in the area. It is therefore imperative that this meeting come up with ideas on how best we can work together in addressing the problem of piracy," the President said.

The influx of refugees and easy availability of small arms, the Head of State said, had further complicated the security situation in our region.

President Kibaki said that security challenges that threaten peace and stability in the region were increasingly transnational in nature and required sustained long term strategies to overcome.

The President said that the government would continue to send troops to UN and AU peace keeping missions as its sign of commitment to peace and stability in the region.

"The Kenya government takes pride in its contribution to regional and world peace and stability. Indeed Kenya has played the role of an honest broker in many regional peace initiatives to full actualization," the President said.

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The Head of State pointed out that the country was motivated by the desire to foster peace and stability, which he said, are the cornerstones of sustainable social cultural and economic development in Africa.

On the symposium – the first to be held in Africa – the President said that the military which serves as the instrument of national power need be adequately enabled through collaborative ideas and strategies to meet the challenges of the changing security environment.

He described the symposium as a major milestone in contributing to peace and stability as it facilitates networking and pollination of collaborative ideas and strategies.

He encouraged the participants to take advantage of the forum to get better understanding of the evolving security environment and benchmark on the best practices to confront security problems.
President Kibaki stressed the importance of transnational networking among the military to address current and emergent challenges to human security.

 "As we are aware, peace and stability are the key pre-requisites for social development and prosperity in any Country or Region. It is imperative therefore that the military is adequately enabled to overcome current and emergent challenges in a rapidly changing security environment," he said.

He observed that most of the emerging security threats to human security were of transnational nature and can only be effectively confronted through collaborative strategies.

The symposium which brought together land force commanders from 22 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East and America is an annual forum to meet and collaborate on topics of mutual interest.

It was addressed by among others, Defence Minister Mohamed Yusuf Haji and American Ambassador Michael Ranneberger who said that insecurity in the world require collaborative approach.

It was co-hosted by the Kenya and United States armies.

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