NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete has acknowledged the bold steps Kenya took to enter Somalia last year in pursuit of the Al-Shabaab and other militants that threatened the country’s economic interests.
President Kikwete said the entry of Kenya’s defence forces into Somalia had proved to be a major determinant to the current peace prevailing in the Horn of Africa country.
Speaking to the media after holding bilateral talks with President Mwai Kibaki at State House Nairobi, the Tanzanian leader noted with appreciation that efforts by Kenyan forces AMISOM allies have borne fruit.
“The bold steps taken by the president have in many ways contributed to the results that we are beginning to see,” Kikwete said.
On his part, President Kibaki challenged Somali citizens including those in the Diaspora to play their rightful roles in embracing the new Somalia.
President Kibaki said Somalia now had a great chance at peace and prosperity and called upon the international community to make the best of the progress made towards peace in Somalia by supporting its reconstruction.
The president welcomed the recent adoption of a provisional constitution by Somalia’s National Constituent Assembly, the inauguration of the Somalia Parliament and the election of a new president.
Both President Kibaki and Kikwete congratulated the new president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and assured him and the people of Somalia of all the support in the critical challenges of restoring stability and development.
“I take this opportunity to congratulate the new president of Somalia His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. I also commend Somalia’s parliament for the peaceful elections and all those who conceded defeat,” said President Kibaki.
President Kibaki also saluted the outgoing President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for his stewardship of the Transitional Federal Government.
The president said he would dispatch his Foreign Affairs Minister to Mogadishu on Wednesday with a message of goodwill and support to the government and people of Somalia.