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Direct Kenya-US flights will begin soon, Obama assures

US President Barack Obama (C) attends a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart at the State House in Nairobi on July 25, 2015/AFP

US President Barack Obama (C) attends a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart at the State House in Nairobi on July 25, 2015/AFP

NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 25 – US President Barack Obama has assured his host President Uhuru Kenyatta that his government is finalising plans to introduce direct flights to the United States.

President Obama says his bilateral talks with host President Kenyatta were mainly centred on deepening relations between Kenya and the US for mutual benefit.

“Our governments are also working to launch direct flights between Kenya and the United States as soon as possible. I don’t have a date certain and I would not want to make a guess and then if we are late you’ll call me and say you lied,” President Obama said.

The visiting President said US officials from the Department of Transportation and that of Homeland Security would assist Kenyan authorities work through various protocol issues.

“I anticipate that if we get all the issues squared this is something that has potential and will definitely have beneficial impact on US travel to Kenya both for business or tourism,” he said.

President Obama who is making first trip to Kenya also announced the US will extend visas for students and business people to five years.

“As part of our Young African Leadership Initiative we will also continue to support proposing Kenyans youth as they work to become future leaders in business. Now that we have renewed AGOA for another day years we have discussed with President Kenyatta on how we can renew our economic negotiation,” he said.

The US President also addressed the issue of the travel advisories which his country has occasionally issued Kenya, with the most recent one coming days after his trip to the region was made public.

Obama said he had no hand in the issuing the advisories which he said is a judgment call released by the US officials to embassy officials and citizens travelling for leisure to the affected countries.

He added that his travelling to Kenya is aimed it proving that the issuance might be exaggerated.

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“I recognise the concerns and I do think that despite the seriousness of the terrorist threat by the Al-Shabaab, that threat may sometime be over exaggerated, that’s unfortunate; part of my answer to that problem would be to come here and visit and show this extra ordinary country and the extraordinary progress it has made,” President Obama said during as news conference held at State House, Nairobi.

President Kenyatta was later Saturday hosting President Obama for dinner at State House, Nairobi.

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