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Kenya wants AMISOM mandate boosted

NEW YORK, Sept 24 – President Mwai Kibaki has called on the United Nations Security Council to provide necessary support to expand the operations of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since the withdrawal of Al-Shabaab militants in Mogadishu.

Noting that major milestones had so far been achieved in the Somalia conflict, President Kibaki affirmed that the war ravaged country still faced significant challenges especially limited resources to secure areas previously occupied by the Al-Shabaab belligerents.

In this regard, President Kibaki called on the international community to urgently avail requisite resources, equipment and goodwill to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM to help them extend their control beyond Mogadishu.

He made the remarks while addressing a Mini-Summit on Somalia that was held at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The President emphasized that with such assistance AMISOM would consolidate the current achievements and get a platform to effectively deal with complex tasks as provision of humanitarian aid and protection of civilians.

The Head of State stressed, “Time is of essence. The needed support must be deployed quickly to forestall the regrouping of Al-Shabaab.”

Thanking the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon for organizing the Mini-Summit to address one of the most complex conflicts in the world today on Somalia, President Kibaki reiterated that the institutions of TFG remained weak while severe famine in region triggered not only immense suffering to civilians but also massive refugee flows to neigbouring countries especially Kenya.

He said: “Kenya is currently receiving up to 2,000 refugees per day. This situation is placing a lot of pressure on refugee camps and related social services as well as on the host communities.”

Among the significant achievements so far realized in efforts to secure a lasting solution to the Somalia crisis, the President said, includes
Extension of the tenure of the    Transitional Federal Government, the
signing of the Kampala Accord and commencement of its implementation, increased political consultation among various actors and the recent withdrawal of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu.

Said the Head of State, “This progress has resulted from the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union, and IGAD as well as the coordinated efforts between the TFG and AMISOM.  I wish to sincerely thank Uganda and Burundi for their continued unwavering commitment in providing the AMISOM troops.”

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President Kibaki underscored that piracy off the shores of Somalia remained a major challenge and even extending attacks to both Kenyan and international waters hence gravely affecting the shipping industry.

“The difficulties I have described cannot be addressed by the TFG alone, nor can IGAD by itself resolve them effectively. For this reason, I urge this Summit to focus on urgently mobilizing international support in aid of Somalia,” the Head of State declared.
He further advocated for sustained momentum in progress made on the political front since the signing of the Kampala Accord in June this year.
In this regard, he noted that a number of milestones had been achieved even ahead of the stipulated timelines and further encouraged the TFG to continue broad political consultations so as to enjoy wide consensus by various stakeholders.

Touching on the humanitarian crisis caused by famine in Somalia, President Kibaki affirmed that more than 4 million people in the country were in dire need of food.

He appealed to the international community to redouble its efforts in order to avert more suffering and loss of life.

The Head of State, however, urged the international community to go beyond mere humanitarian emergency response and instead to focus on building the capacity of communities to deal with recurrent drought.

He remarked: “It was in the light of this, that I hosted the Summit on the Horn of Africa Crisis earlier this month. That Summit adopted the Nairobi Strategy aimed at eradicating drought emergences in the Horn of Africa. We shall be presenting this Strategy at the High Level Meeting on the Horn of Africa that is to be held tomorrow. It is my hope that the international community will support this initiative.”

President Kibaki expressed optimism that the Summit would refresh the international community’s commitment to help Somalia come out of the crisis and set it on the path of sustainable peace, stability and development.

In his remarks, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said for the first time Somalia has a significant more inclusive political process which was generated by the Kampala Accord.

He therefore said time has come for the Transitional Federal Institutions and Somalia’s leaders to implement the Roadmap to end the Transition, while at the same time keeping in mind that future assistance will be contingent on the timely attainment of the agreed benchmarks.

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He also called on the international community to remain engaged in the Somali peace process and to provide resources to the Transitional Federal Institutions and other implementing partners to ensure the political investment bears fruit.

At the same time the UN Secretary General said there is need to adequately equip the AMISOM and Government forces to enable the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia expand territory under its control and enhance its legitimacy by delivering basic services to the population.

He also called for the establishment of a dedicated AMISOM guard force to protect international staff as they continue to expand their operations in Somalia and particularly in Mogadishu.
The mini-summit was also attended by regional and other world leaders.

Present were ministers Moses Wetangula, Wyclife Oparanya, Chirau Mwakwere, Beth Mugo, Noah Wekesa, assistant minister Richard Onyonka and Rangwe Member of Parliament Martin Ogindo.

Also present were Kenyan Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States of America Elkana Odembo and Head of the United Nations office to the African Union Ambassador Zachary Muburi Muita, among other senior Government officials


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