NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 — Close ties, cooperation and friendship between Kenya and Somalia are key to the war against terrorism, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The President said it was through fostering strong bonds of relationship that the two countries would be able to come up with political, security and economic strategies that would defeat their common enemy and achieve the aspirations of their citizens.
“I know from the discussions we have had that between us we can show our people, and the world, what great works can come from friendship, partnership and good neighbourliness,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta was speaking at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday evening when he hosted a State banquet in honour of visiting Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The Somali leader was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Saynab Abdi Maalim.
As friends, President Kenyatta told the visiting Head of State that they have an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of relationship inspired by a common vision of a Horn that is peaceful, prosperous and dignified.
President Kenyatta said Kenya’s ability to be part of an economically vibrant region that can feed its people’s aspirations for decent and dignified work is tied to Somalia’s ability to have the same.
“Kenya’s peace is tied to yours. Kenyans are tired of poverty and the politics of division. I am sure the same is true of the people of Somalia,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta observed that the fates of the two nations are tied together and therefore it was prudent to ensure the two countries build a future that serves their citizens’ quest for peace and prosperity.
“We are bound together by history, by geography and by the connections between our peoples,” said the President.
He once again commended President Mohamed for being elected the new leader of Somalia, saying the successful democratic election and the peaceful handing over of power is proof of the enormous strides that the Somali people have made.
“Those strides do not surprise me. It has long been clear that the people of Somalia are possessed of a rich culture and heritage able to produce the right leaders for the right moment,” affirmed President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta said the collapse of the Somali state in the early 1990’s was a sad moment for Kenya, pointing out that Kenya takes its responsibilities as a neighbour seriously.
“In the cultures of this region, good neighbourliness is revered as one of the greatest virtues,” said President Kenyatta.
In his remarks, President Mohamed thanked President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya for standing with Somali people in their greatest hour of need.
“I want to thank the Government and the people of Kenya for the continued and sustained support to Somalia throughout the last two decades as we went through a very tough time,” said the Somalia President.
He assured President Kenyatta of his support, saying Kenya can count on him as an ally in the fight against Al-shabaab.
Also in attendance were the Deputy President William Ruto, Cabinet Secretaries, diplomats and other senior government officials.