NAIROBI, Kenya, Nairobi, May 21 – The European Union (EU) Mission in Nairobi has unveiled a new embassy making Kenya the seat of its second largest foreign mission in the world after London.
EU High Representative Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who met Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma after unveiling the embassy, described opening of the new embassy as an acknowledgement of Kenya’s vital role as a regional hub.
“We see Kenya as not only a gateway to the region and to Africa but also as an important hub. I was pleased to inaugurate our new EU embassy here in Nairobi; it is the second largest in the world and this is not by coincidence,” she said.
“Our investments both economically and politically, in terms of security cooperation is key for the European Union and we value Kenya’s partnership enormously,” Mogherini added.
The two diplomats discussed cooperation in the areas of regional security, trade and the Blue Economy.
Mogherini who visited Mogadishu on Monday said the EU was committed to the realization of stability in the Horn of Africa.
“We discussed our cooperation on important regional issues that are important to regional security and global peace. EU continues to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and we continue to support the full implementation of the roadmap we’ve established together with our Somali partners,” she said.
During her visit to Somalia, Mogherini held talks with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and later spent time with EU troops in Somalia who have been training the Somali National Armed Forces.
In her remarks during bilateral talks with the visiting EU envoy Tuesday, CS Juma commended the EU’s efforts towards peace in Somalia through the Counter-terrorism Law Enforcement Project – Horn of Africa and Yemen.
She appealed for EU support to have Al Shabaab listed as a terrorist organisation under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 of 1999.
“In combating global terrorism and sustaining the painful gains, we urge you to support Kenya in listing the Al Shabaab as a terrorism organisation under the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1267,” she urged.
Juma also announced that Kenya had formally asked for the EU support for its bid for a non-permanent membership of the UNSC for the 2021/22 term.
“We’ve had discussions around regional peace and security matters as well as integration. We’ve discussion cooperation in Somalia, South Sudan DR Congo as well as my request for EU’s support for Kenya’s bid for UNSC,” she said.
Juma’s call for the listing of the Somali-based militant group under Resolution 1267 follows the abduction of two Cuban doctors attached to the Mandera County Referral Hospital on April 12 by al-Shabaab militants, a move the Foreign Ministry termed as a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
Resolution 1267 was crafted on October 15, 1999, following repeated aggression by the Taliban and terrorist groups linked to it.
UNSC had noted a significant rise in illicit production of opium, and the Taliban’s capture of the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran and murder of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Juma said the government will not engage the militant group in ransom negotiations after reports emerged that the terrorist group had asked for a $1.5 million ransom to release the abductees.
“We believe that we’ll secure their release in the ongoing security operation but as a matter of polity the government does not negotiate ransom. We’re hopeful that we shall retrieve the doctors safely back home,” the CS assured.
The doctors – a general practitioner and a surgeon – were abducted on April 12 while commuting to work in the Kenyan border town.