KENYAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES HEAD OF US AFRICA COMMAND

NAIROBI, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta received here Wednesday General Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of the United States Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, and discussed with him regional security issues, including the situation in Somalia and South Sudan.

During the meeting, President Kenyatta, who has been at the forefront of efforts to restore peace and stability in the two Horn of Africa countries told General Waldhauser that Kenya was firmly committed to the cause of finding peace in Somalia, an aspiration which had in the past been negated by lack of adequate capacity, and proper military commands.

Meanwhile, political turmoil in South Sudan, said President Kenyatta, had been made worse by unwarranted fear and mistrust between supporters of President Salva Kiir and recently restored First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar.

President Kenyatta said hope to restore stability in both countries was, however, not lost and partner-states working towards peace in the sub-region wiould remain committed to the cause. We shall give it everything we can. But it is not going to be easy, President Kenyatta said in reference to South Sudan.

President Kenyatta said Somalia faced further challenges of mistrust and internal politics between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the country’s regional governments. The deteriorating relationships between the TFG and the regional governments is of major concern to us, said President Kenyatta, adding that the conflict is a major security threat to Kenya and the region.

The President counselled that for peace and stability to be restored in Somalia, its leadership needs to refocus its attention and energies into addressing issues that cause national divisions and avoid being drawn into partisan distractions.

Gen Waldhauser underlined the need for Somalia to strengthen its leadership structures adding that the instability is partly due to indirect interference from certain Gulf countries.

We are ready to continue assisting the country so long as the federal government is willing to accept our support, said Gen Waldhauser, who called for neutrality from the Gulf countries that are extending their differences to the Horn of Africa nation. The differences and clashes in these Arabian countries are playing out in Somalia. We call for their neutrality.”

The General said the US will continue its training programmes for the Somalia National Army (SNA) with the expectation that the Federal Government will work on the requisite structures for the trained personnel to operate effectively.

Gen Waldhauser said the US was committed to its continued partnership with Kenya and lauded President Kenyatta’s upbeat economic agenda. He was accompanied to the meeting t State House Nairobi by Brigadier General James Craig, the US Horn of Africa Commander, and US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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