Somali Prime Minister holds talks with Kenyan Deputy President

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Addis Ababa, 20 June 2014 (WIC) – The Somali  Prime Minister of Somalia Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed is on an official visit to Kenya to attend the 99th session of the meeting of countries in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States.

The Prime minister also met with the Deputy President of Kenya H.E. William Ruto and other high level Kenyan officials. The meetings covered a wide range of issues including security, refugees and strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

According to a press release Office of the Prime Minister sent to WIC,  H.E Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed reiterated his condolences to the Kenyan government and the people of Kenya on the recent cowardly attacks on innocent civilians in Lamu County.

The Prime Minister and Mr. Ruto agreed that the threat of terrorism is a regional and global issue that requires all parties to work together to address it, and build bonds that will further the fight against those who seek destruction and mayhem.

H.E. Prime Minister Ahmed thanked the Kenyan government for the role it is playing in the stabilization of Somalia and for the troops it has contributed to the AMISOM forces.

The Prime Minister spoke about the recent liberation of 9 districts through joint SNA and AMISOM operations as part of achievements in security, and both governments renewed their commitment to continue working together to increase security in Somalia.

“SNA and AMISOM have battled tirelessly to eliminate those who wish to impose their warped ideology on the region. The successes of the SNA and AMISOM are not only beneficial for Somalia, but for the entire East African region. We must continue to fight those who want to harm us and reaffirm our commitment to peace and justice,” H.E Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said.

H.E Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed expressed his continued concern about the state of Somali refugees in Kenya amid recent security sweeps that have resulted in the mass arrests of people of Somali origin since April.

He thanked the Kenyan government for hosting Somali refugees for over twenty years, but urged the Kenyan authorities to be cognizant of the rights of refugees while conducting security operations and to separate extremist elements from the legitimate refugees who are in Kenya.

Further on the refugee issue, both parties agreed that the Tripartite Commission will be launched as soon as possible. The Commission will enable the processing of any issues regarding refugees under the framework of the Tripartite Agreement, which will allow for orderly and voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees to a favorable environment.

“The two governments agreed to hold a conference soon in either Mogadishu or Nairobi to discuss the implementation of the Tripartite Agreement on the issue of Somali refugees in Kenya. Under this agreement, refugees will only be returned to Somalia voluntarily and in an orderly manner,” said the Prime Minister.

To strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the Kenyan government will speed up the process of opening its embassy in Somalia. Both governments agreed to re-launch the Joint Cooperation Committee, which will oversee and improve governance, stability, economy, financing and infrastructure. The Prime Minister of Somalia and the Kenyan officials agreed to promote and encourage regular visits to Mogadishu by Kenyan officials.

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