, YOKOHAMA, Japan, May 31 – Deputy President William Ruto has asked Somali exiles and refugees to return and rebuild their country.
Speaking during a conference on Somalia in Yokohama, Japan, Ruto said returning was the only way that Somalis can help stabilise their country.
The deputy president spoke as other world leaders praised Kenya’s role in bringing stability to Somalia.
Among those who praised Kenya’s role include Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir.
Ruto said although Somalia requires international assistance, it was the duty of Somalis in the Diaspora to reconstruct and stabilise their country.
Kenya, he added, was in talks with the government of Somalia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the safe return of refugees back to Somalia.
“We will soon have a Nairobi conference on repatriation of refugees…we appeal for assistance so that this exercise can be successful.”
The deputy president said adding that Kenya had played a major role in dealing with the insecurity posed by the Al Shabaab and trained more than 2,500 Somali soldiers.
President Kikwete said security in East Africa can only be guaranteed if Somalia was peaceful adding that most countries in the region suffered terror attacks perpetuated by individuals from the country.
On his part, Abe said Japan will work with other countries and the Somalia government to ensure normalcy was realised.
“We will vigorously support those who want Somalia stabilised in addition to enhancing the capacity of the police in the country and ensuring good socio-economic conditions,” the Japan PM added.
He said a secure Somalia was good for the East African countries.
South Sudan’s Kiir said the international community should assist to eliminate terrorist elements who have made Somalia their haven, while the Ethiopian premier said the African Union was doing its best to promote security and return of Somalia citizens.