, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – President Mwai Kibaki has asserted that now is the moment to stabilise Somalia and called on the international community to take advantage of the opportunity.
President Kibaki affirmed that there was need to capitalize on various gains achieved so far through the combined efforts of the Kenya Defence Forces, African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
The president appealed to the international community to consider making more support available to frontline nations like Kenya in the stabilisation process of the war ravaged nation.
He was speaking at his Harambee House Office when he met and held discussions with visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
He said that there was need to utilise the safe havens so far created in Somalia through the ongoing military intervention to provide social amenities such as water, health services and schools to Somali refugees currently hosted in the country.
The Head of State called for urgent action because Kenya was hosting over 600,000 refugees, a number that has never been witnessed anywhere in the world.
The President called for voluntary repatriation of the refugees to pacified areas of the war ravaged country so as to mitigate other negative trends that are associated with the conflict, particularly piracy, terrorism, general insecurity and destabilization of the Horn of Africa region.
President Kibaki expressed confidence that the forthcoming conference in London on piracy shall explore and find a long lasting solution to the Somalia conflict.
During the occasion, the Head of State hailed the existing longstanding, cordial and warm bilateral relations between the two countries and appreciated the support extended to Kenya in the ongoing reforms in the country especially in the police force.
On his part, the British Foreign Secretary thanked Kenya for the pivotal role she has played towards stabilising Somalia and even hosting the largest ever known number of refugees.
Hague, who was in Somalia on Thursday, also briefed the President on the current situation in the country where he met various stakeholders in the conflict resolution process among them the TFG leaders and members of the civil society.
The Foreign Secretary also affirmed Britain’s commitment to stabilise Somalia as evidence by the hosting of an international conference in London to be attended by about 50 nations to chart the way forward.
Later the President held discussions with visiting Vice-President of World Bank, Rachel Kyte.
In their discussions, the two leaders appreciated the good partnership and cordial working relations existing between Kenya and the financial institution.
President Kibaki assured Kyte of government’s commitment to undertake various reforms aimed at attaining and sustaining the country’s economic growth rate target of 10 per cent.
He thanked the World Bank for supporting vital sectors of the economy, especially energy and water, which have been identified as drivers of Kenya’s development and realization of the Vision 2030.
On her part the vice-president noted that the World Bank supported the country’s development agenda adding that it was important to pursue Kenya’s economic growth vision.
Kyte said that discussions between the Bank and Government were on the course to commit 1.5 billion dollars over the next two years in new energy, transport and the water sectors.