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Miliband urges Kenya reforms

LONDON, Apr 3 – British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has emphasised the importance of progress on the National Accord reform agenda to help prevent a repeat of the post election crisis in Kenya in the future.

Mr Miliband who was speaking during a major House of Commons debate on Africa on March 30 said: "We remain concerned for the country’s future. There are signs that the reform process begun 15 months ago might be losing momentum."

He said insufficient efforts had been made to end the climate of impunity, and the failure of the Kenyan Parliament to agree the formation of a special tribunal was a setback for efforts to secure justice for victims of the post-election violence.

"Corruption and mismanagement are still significant problems; recent allegations underline why Kenyans are calling for their Government to show that they are accountable and transparent, and to uphold the rule of law."

He said unless the pace of political reform picks up, the outlook was bleak. "We want progress on the national accord in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s violence".

Mr Milliband said the debate was called to reaffirm the UK’s support for Africa at a time when the economic crisis is bringing acute challenges, and to set out priorities for the next year.

He said Africa had been at the top of the UK Government’s foreign policy agenda for the past 12 years.

"The personal commitment of successive Prime Ministers has enabled the UK to be part of a mass-mobilisation behind ambitious objectives. The millennium goals were agreed in New York in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and improve education, health and the environment."

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He said in Gleneagles, during the UK presidency of the G8, further commitments were made to double aid by 2010; to give at least 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product to development; to write off debts of 43 of the world’s poorest countries, most of which are in Africa.

Commitment was also made to ensure that children have access to good-quality, free and compulsory education and free basic health care; and to provide an extra 25,000 trained peacekeeping troops, helping the African Union better to respond to security challenges.

"The UK has backed up those ambitions by increasing the development budget for Africa from £300 million in 1997 to £1.3 billion this year. In that work, the Department for International Development has established a reputation for global leadership in aid effectiveness," Mr Miliband said.


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