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Saturday, 4 May 2013

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech at the 21st Extra-Ordinary Summit Of IGAD


Your Excellency Ato Hailemariam Desalegn,
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of
Excellencies Dear Colleagues,
Distinguished Delegates,

Allow me to express my appreciation to the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the warm reception and hospitality that has been accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful country.

Further, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to IGAD for sending the Ministerial Good Will Mission to Kenya 3 days ahead of the election of 4th March, 2013,demonstrating, yet again, the region’s solidarity to its Member States. The successful outcome of our election is undoubtedly your success too. It is a demonstration of the desire and ability of our region to deepen and strengthen our governance.

I also take this opportunity to reiterate my gratitude to my colleagues and other dignitaries who attended my inauguration to the Presidency on April 9, 2013. I truly value your kind words and best wishes offered to me, my Government and country on that auspicious occasion.

Since taking over the leadership mantle in Kenya, I have held several consultative meetings on the situation in Somalia. In this regard, I take this opportunity to thank H.E. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of the Federal Government of Somalia for honoring my invitation to visit Kenya on Saturday, 27th April, 2013. During that visit, we held very fruitful discussions aimed at consolidating our common bilateral and regional efforts on the stabilization of Somalia. It is my hope that this Summit will give impetus to the momentum that has been achieved so far.

The convening of this Extra-Ordinary IGAD Summit to discuss Somalia and the strengthening of IGAD comes at a critical moment in the stabilization, reconstruction and recovery efforts of Somalia. The Summit also takes place ahead of the London Conference on Somalia on 7th May, 2013, the Tokyo meeting on Somalia on 31st May, 2013, the Brussels Conference on Somalia on 16th September, 2013 and the proposed Conference on Somali refugees to be Co-Chaired by Kenya and Somalia. This is an indication of the great importance that we in IGAD and the international community attach to peace and stability in Somalia and the region as a whole. 

The recent positive political and security developments in Somalia have opened a window of opportunity for lasting peace in Somalia. Somalia is on course, now more than ever, of stabilizing and realizing lasting peace. 

The Al Shabaab remains a major threat to Somalia and regional stability. Our stabilization efforts should, therefore, focus on securing Somalia and the region from this menace. Towards this end, the rebuilding and reforming of the Somali security sector will form an essential part of the stabilization process. The reform of the Somali security sector should be holistic, inclusive, logically sequenced and prioritized. The reform should take into consideration the need for a systematic integration of the various armed militias that are currently engaged on both sides of the anti-Al-Shabaab war and the orderly reception of Al-Shabaab deserters as well as their rehabilitation, re-training and integration into the security forces.

Distinguished delegates,
Following the lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia through the UN Security Council Resolution 2093 of (2013), Kenya calls for measures to prevent diversion of arms into wrong hands and to ensure compliance with international norms and standards. The Somalia Government needs to guarantee states in the region that the lifting of the arms embargo will not lead to the illegal acquisition of dangerous arms by potentially renegade forces. Kenya has legitimate security concerns as some armed elements emanating from Somalia have infiltrated refugee camps from where they target and undertake attacks on Kenyan Security Forces and civilians.

Kenya recognizes that there can be no prospects for sustainable development in Somalia without political stability. In this regard, Kenya supports ongoing efforts by the Somalia Government to set up governance structures and institutions in line with the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia. We encourage the Somalia Government to embrace national peace-building and inclusivity of the diverse people of Somalia so as to realize a united, secure and prosperous Somalia. In this endevour, I assure that Kenya is committed to provide technical support to the Federal Government of Somalia.  

Now that peace and normalcy is returning to the country, it is essential that all her populations are brought on board on the various stabilization programmes. Somalis living outside Somalia should not suffer exclusion simply because they were forced out by insecurity. I urge the people of Somalia across the world to support and participate in the reconstruction and re-establishment of governance and socio-economic infrastructures in their country.

Towards this end, Kenya will embark on consultations with the Somalia Government and other players especially the UNHCR, to develop modalities for safe and orderly return and resettlement of Somali refugees. This will culminate in the organisation of an international conference on the safe return of Somali refugees co-chaired by Kenya and Somalia. I urge Your Excellencies to support this initiative.
Kenya recognizes the centrality of IGAD in the concerted efforts to secure lasting peace and stability in Somalia and the Horn of Africa at large. Indeed, our organization remains the singular guarantor of peace and security in our region. Peace in Somalia translates to peace in Kenya and our region as a whole. I urge for a strong reaffirmation of our common resolve to eliminate all negative forces to peace and stability in Somalia. We need to strengthen regional and multilateral efforts to fully realize sustainable peace and security in our region.
I wish to acknowledge IGAD member states and all AMISOM troop contributing countries and Ethiopia for the sacrifices we continue to make to help the Somali people retain their rightful place among the community of nations. As I emphasized in my inauguration speech, Kenya is committed to the noble goal of a peaceful, stable and prosperous region. In this regard, I reiterate my pledge to work with the international community to strengthen the IGAD and the African Union peace process in Somalia. This is because a stable and prosperous Somalia is in the interest of all nations.

In concluding, Excellencies, let me reaffirm Kenya’s commitment to the search for peace and stability in Somalia. I will continue to work closely with the Federal Republic of Somalia, IGAD member states and the international community, to nurture sufficient conditions for reconstructing and developing the liberated areas and for stability in Somalia and the region as a whole. I further urge for a stronger and united approach among all IGAD Member States in the spirit of collective commitment to secure peace and security in our region.

I thank you.

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