, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23 – China on Friday declared support for Kenya\’s decision to invite Sudanese President Omar al Bashir to attend the promulgation of the new constitution in Nairobi last week.
During talks with President Mwai Kibaki, visiting vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People\’s Congress (NPC) Chen Zhili pledged China\’s support for Kenya if the country is subject of discussion at the United Nations Security Council over the issue.
"Kenya as a neighbor and guarantor to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on the Sudan require the support and not condemnation by the international community in her efforts to broker peace between the Southern and Northern Sudan.", Ms Zhili said.
She expressed appreciation to President Kibaki and the Kenya government for the pivotal role played in brokering peace in Sudan and the horn of Africa.
Zhili who is also the NPC Chairperson of all Women\’s Federation, assured President Kibaki that China would provide the necessary support towards peace and stability in the horn of Africa.
President Bashir’s visit elicited immediate uproar both in Kenya and internationally, with some members of the Cabinet saying they had not been informed of his invitation.
The government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, defended its decision saying Kenya was abiding by a resolution of the African Union which wanted the arrest warrants suspended to give room for peace negotiations in Darfur.
The ICC has reported Kenya to the United Nations Security Council over the visit and failure to arrest President Bashir.
Kenya has reiterated its commitment to cooperate with the ICC, but in the case of Sudan it argues that Kenya has a strategic interest in ensuring peace and stability in the sub-region and promoting peace, justice and reconciliation.
A Foreign Affairs statement on Sunday said: \’As a member of the IGAD and a guarantor to the peace process in Sudan, Kenya has an absolute obligation to continuously engage with both parties to the CPA and their leadership.\’
The government has confirmed that President Kibaki held a meeting with the Sudanese leader during his Friday visit.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said President Bashir met on August 29 with South Sudan leader Salva Kiir and reaffirmed his commitment to the South Sudan referendum which is scheduled for January.
The Chinese Official also congratulated President Kibaki and other coalition government partners for passage and promulgation of the country\’s new constitution.
Ms Zhili also appreciated Kenya\’s support for the One China policy which provides that Taiwan was and remains an inalienable part of China.
President Kibaki and Ms Zhili discussed issues focusing on enhancing Kenya-China cooperation under the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) whose principals provide long term guidance for the growth of China and the African continent.
China is partnering with Africa on climate change, science and technology, capacity building, agriculture, medical care and health, human resource development and education, cultural exchanges and the opening up of Chinese markets for African products, programmes whose implementation in the next three years will strengthen China- Africa cooperation.
President Kibaki hailed the cordial bilateral and trade relations existing between the two countries which have continued to flourish through exchange visits at all levels.
The President particularly expressed gratitude to China for the immense contribution to the country\’s infrastructural development over the years.
The Head of State said: "I note with appreciation that China is today one of the leading bilateral donors to Kenya\’s infrastructural development with a cumulative official development assistance of Sh36.7 billion."
China and Kenya have signed agreements and MoUs in various fields including technical and cultural cooperation, trade, education, health, energy, agriculture and cooperative development.
The Chinese delegation in the talks included chairman of the Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee of NPC Wang Guangtao, Vice Chairperson of the Financial and Economic Affairs of NPC Ms Wu Xiaoling, Deputy Secretary General of the Standing Committee of NPC Han Xiaowu and the Vice Chairperson of the Guangdong Provincial People\’s Congress Ms Chen Xiaochuan.