, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – Kenya will on Tuesday host tripartite talks with the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Somali Government over a pact signed more than a year ago on repatriation of refugees.
The talks will assess the agreement that focuses on voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees.
“This was agreed at a meeting between the Prime Minister of Somalia Omar Ali Sharmarke and Deputy President William Ruto,” a statement from Ruto’s office said.
The Somalia PM had called on the Deputy President to discuss the security situation between the two countries.
He called for the meeting saying it was important to evaluate how the process can be carried out responsibly and made faster with the assistance of the international community.
“We want to address the refugee issue in the tripartite agreement and agree on how fast it can be done and what role the donor community can play,” Sharmarke stated.
Ruto says the tripartite agreement will be discussed with a view of ensuring refugees returned to Somalia in an orderly manner.
“We would like this meeting to address the concerns raised in this matter so that we can deal with the refugee situation in the most humane manner,” the Deputy President said.
Recently, the Deputy President said the country had given UNHCR three months to relocate the Dadaab refugee camp to Somalia.
Emphasizing that the return of the refuges will be organised, the DP pointed out that since the signing of the tripartite agreement to return the refugees home, 80,000 had done so voluntarily.
“We would like this meeting to address the concerns raised in this matter so that we can deal with the refugee situation in the most humane manner,” he pointed out.
“We will always stand with you. We made a conscious decision to participate in the security operations in Somalia because what goes on in Somalia affects us in Kenya.”
The Deputy President said it was unfortunate that Al-Shabaab has a different agenda in Kenya trying to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims, an agenda he added, will not succeed.
Besides refugee issues, the Somalia PM also appealed to Kenya to review its decision and allow those who were engaged in genuine business to continue with their money transfer businesses, popularly known as Hawalas.
“Kenya has a good financial system and we would like you to assist us set up sound financial services for those in the Hawala business and also in Somalia,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Kenya should however deal firmly with those who will be found to transacting for purposes of sponsoring terrorist activities.
In response, the DP said the Central Bank of Kenya was analysing their operations to explore the possibilities of bringing the Hawalas under financial regulatory system for ease of monitoring.
The analysis will also help identify individuals behind any transaction and purposes thereof.
Present during the meeting were Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for industrialization Aden Mohammed and National Assembly leader of Majority in Parliament Aden Duale.
Sharmarke was accompanied by Somalia Foreign Minister Abdulsalam Omer.