Kenya, Ethiopia agree on regional security cooperation

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Addis Ababa, November 20 (WIC) - Kenya and Ethiopia on Monday agreed to work closely in order to promote peace and security in the region.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi told journalists in Nairobi that both nations will jointly explore ways of building on the progress realized between Sudan and South Sudan following the signing of various agreements.   

"Kenya and Ethiopia have agreed to accelerate efforts aimed at searching for peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region, including consolidating the gains in Somalia," he said during the opening session of the technical meeting of the 34th Kenya- Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Nairobi.

The two-day meeting will discuss strengthening of bilateral ties in the area of political, socio-economic, security and foreign affairs and will culminate in the signing of draft bilateral agreements.   

Kenya remains one of Ethiopia largest trading partner of in Africa and government statistics indicate that in 2010 Kenya's exports reached 43 million US dollars against imports of 2.4 million dollars.   

He added that the holding of the two day session demonstrates the importance which the two countries attach on the need to further deepen and strengthen historical bonds of friendship through cooperation in various fields.

"The meeting will address the pending cooperation instruments identified during the 33rd session of the JMC which was hosted in Ethiopia," Mwangi said.

"This includes the proposal for a Cooperative Framework Agreement establishing a joint Lake Turkana and Rivers Omo and Daua Basins Commission, operationalization of the road transport and railway agreement as well as cooperation in agriculture," he said.   

Thuita said that once the agreements are signed, they should be implemented and their impact on bilateral cooperation documented.   

He added that during the drought season, lack of water causes conflict among communities at the common border due to the proliferation of small arms.

"The Kenya-Ethiopia standing boundary administration commissions will continue to meet twice a year in order to maintain peace," he said.   

Thuita added that the JMC will lay the ground for the official visit of the Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Kenya.   

Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Directorate, Director General Wondimu Asaminew said that his nation attaches great importance to its relations with Kenya. "A second meeting of senior officials in less than six months underlines the paramount importance of the bilateral cooperation," he said.   

"Both nations are committed to enhancing cooperation on major regional and international issues of interest," he said.   

He commended Kenya's solidarity with Ethiopia following the death of its former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August. "We are back to normalcy as all institutions are now working," he said.   

Asaminew added that both parties will work together to promote peace stability in the continent as well as strengthen institutions of the African Union and its development program New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).   

He added that the east African neighbors will expand the scope of their cooperation to include health, women and children, science and technology, youth and sports and extradition.   

The Ethiopian official noted that both states have a shared desire for a global system that respects the diversity and equality of nations. (Xinhua)