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Raila meets Bill Clinton in NY

NEW YORK, Apr 12 – Former US President Bill Clinton has pledged more support for initiatives meant to protect the environment in Kenya.

Mr Clinton particularly promised support for programmes that would reduce pressure on forests and protect water towers and water bodies.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the Clinton Foundation offices in New York, the former President promised to help set up an operation that would provide stoves that use fuels other than charcoal in Kenya and distribute them in villages where wood remains the main source of fuel.

Mr Odinga briefed the former US President on progress on the restoration of the Mau Forest Complex and the new drive to restore Lake Naivasha.

The Clinton Foundation has provided support to the Mau restoration effort. The former President said conserving the environment, particularly having people to stop destroying forests is a sensitive matter that requires courageous leadership.

Mr Clinton thanked Mr Odinga for showing enthusiasm towards saving the environment saying it is a service to the entire globe.

He said he would be willing to support Kenya’s conservation efforts through programmes that would make people stop destroying forests without losing their source of livelihood.

The former President said the stoves that use fuels other than charcoal would provide charcoal burners with alternative sources of income when they stop destroying forests.

He said he would also be willing to help Kenya explore possibilities of turning its turns of garbage into fuel and thus reduce pressure on forests.

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“I will be happy to help with either of these initiatives in Kenya. Anything that can win people from destroying forests and charcoal burning in particular is worth trying. I am willing to provide start up money for these initiatives,” the former President said.

He said that in some countries where the use of the stoves has been promoted, cutting of forests has reduced by up to 75 per cent.

Mr Clinton said he would partner with the government in saving Lake Naivasha.

The PM said Lake Naivasha is unique as the only one in the Great Rift Valley system that has fresh water. The two leaders also discussed the progress in Free Primary Education and the state of the Kenyan economy.

Mr Odinga leaves New York on Tuesday for Washington, DC, where he is set to meet US Vice President Joe Biden, among other US Government officials.

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