NAIROBI, KENYA: The Government of Kenya and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Wednesday renewed their commitment to the fight against the Al Shabaab and the Al Qaida terror groups and to the elimination of terrorism from the region. At a joint press conference between the Deputy President William Ruto and Somali Prime Minister Abdiwelli Sheikh Ahmed in Nairobi, the two leaders gave an undertaking that their governments, under the IGAD and AMISOM arrangement, would defeat all terrorist groups and bring stability to Somalia.
Speaking at his office after holding bilateral talks with the Somali Prime Minister, Mr Ruto emphasized that the two governments had no explanation, no apologies nor justification in their resolve to eliminate the terror menace from the region and create a stable Somalia. Noting that Kenyan troops would continue to fight terror alongside other AMISOM troops in Somalia until this is achieved, Mr. Ruto said Kenya’s aim is to help bring stability to Somalia which will enable the Somalis to review their country’s constitution and eventually pave way for democratic elections by 2016.
He lauded the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia for their tremendous contribution to the management and stabilization of Somali, noting that piracy was rampant along the Somali/Kenya coast. This adds to the beefing up of UN troops in Somalia. Security had further been boosted in the country and in the region. “Indeed because of improved stability in Somalia, Kenya would be setting up an embassy in Mogadishu by June 2014 as a demonstration of the relationship and brotherhood that exist between our two countries,” he said. The deputy president added, “We want to enhance robust relations between the two countries and further encourage people to people and government to government relations.”
On the repatriation of the 1 million Somali refugees in Kenya back to Somalia, Mr. Ruto disclosed that a commission under a tripartite arrangement between the Government of Kenya, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) would form a commission to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of the refugees. He said, “Already some 80,000 to 100,000 Somali refugees have voluntarily gone back to their country since the routing of the Al Shabaab from parts of Somalia.” On his part, Mr. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said his government was committed to working closely with Kenya to create a more secure environment in the region where business can thrive. “We are committed to clear Al Shabab terrorists from Somalia and will work closely with Kenya to accomplish that mission,” he said.
He lauded the government of Kenya for supporting Somalia since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, noting that other than hosting a million Somali refugees, Kenya had offered opportunities to Somali business people to work in Kenya and provide livelihood for themselves and to people back home in Somalia. Noting that the partnership between Kenya and Somalia was critical, Mr Abdiwelli appealed to the government of Kenya to help Somalia build institutions with capacity to run a government and provide security and social amenities in the liberated areas. He thanked the government of Kenya through Mr Ruto for directing Cabinet Secretaries to start working with their Somali counterparts on the matter adding that the Somali Parliament will also engage the Kenya Parliament in this effort.