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US hopes leaks won’t sour relations

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger on Wednesday said he hoped the anticipated WikiLeaks secret cables on Kenya would not affect the relations between the two countries.

Mr Ranneberger said this concern prompted Washington to call Nairobi on Tuesday to formally apologise for any leaks that may touch on Kenya.

"We did call just to alert the government that this is something we know is happening and the reason is because we do have a strong relationship with the government of Kenya," the US envoy said on the sidelines of a meeting with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

"We wanted to make a point that we do expect the relationship and partnership to continue obviously regardless of these irresponsible leaks.  I don\’t expect it to affect our relationship and partnership with Kenya," he added.

He however, declined to comment on any specific leaks about Kenya, saying the embassy had not seen them.

Mr Ranneberger described the WikiLeaks dossier that has exposed America\’s view of other nations and leaders as "unfortunate and regrettable."

"We obviously express regret that these leaks happening are very unfortunate. And clearly it is something out of our control," he said.

"We don\’t comment however on alleged leaks, we have not seen all the alleged documents. They may not be accurate so we will not comment on the specifics."

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He said the US regarded Kenya highly and described the relationship between Nairobi and Washington as "probably one of the closest in all the nations of the continent of Africa."

"We appreciate the strategic importance of Kenya, the future stability and democracy of Kenya is very important to us."

Mr Ranneberger also brushed off accusations by Kenya\’s government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua that they could be among nations funding groups to destabilise the government.

Dr Mutua had alleged that there were foreign missions were clandestinely funding youths organisations in the country with the aim of destabilising the government.

While admitting that the US was funding thousands of youths organisations, Mr Ranneberger denied it was being done clandestinely.

"We do support thousands of Non-Governmental Organisations around the country and all this is done transparently. We are doing a range of empowerment including education.

"We are empowering young people to enable them participate in the developmental programs of this country to increase stability and the democratic system," he said.

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