22 December 2012

Somalia President Visits Nairobi, Supports Kenya-Amisom Operation

Nairobi — The president of the Somali Federal Government Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was received by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Friday in Nairobi, on President Hassan's first state visit to Kenya that was delayed a number of times, Garowe Online reports.

The two leaders held a joint press conference at the State House in Nairobi afte r their meeting, where President Kibaki praised the new president of Somalia for being committed to live and work in Somalia during the past 22 years of conflict.

President Hassan and President Kibaki

"Congratulations to President Hassan on his election as Somali President and congratulations to the Somali people," said President Kibaki.

President Kibaki stated that the Kenyan government stands by the side "of the will of the majority in Somalia who want peace to prevail" and noted that Kenya decided to join African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to remove Al Shabaab militant group and to reinforce peace and stability in Somalia.

The Kenyan leader said that "Kenya is a true friend of Somalia", adding: "Kenya and Somalia will work together to return Somali refugees back to Somalia. There is no dignity living in refugee camps."

'Somalia grateful for Kenyan troops ': President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the press conference that he is happy to be in Nairobi to have discussions on bilateral relations and mutual interest with Ke nyan leaders.

"Somalia is very grateful for the unwavering support from Kenya, in particular for sending its troops to Somalia to eliminate the threat of Al Shabaab and for hosting Somali refugees in this great country," said President Hassan.

Continuing, President Hassan indicated that Somalia is "aiming to contribute positively" to the region and to the world, adding: "Somalia is emerging from a very long and difficult period and we are moving away from chaos, instability, extremism, and piracy towards a new era of peace and development."

President Hassan expressed hope for Somalia, saying: "I am hopeful that Somalia will reclaim its role in t he international landscape. I am hopeful for a Somalia at peace with itself and at peace with its neighbors, where the people can go about their daily lives with safety and provide for their families with dignity."

Continuing, President Hassan said instability emanating from Somalia poses a threat to Somalia, the wider region and the international community. "Threats in Somalia include Al Qaeda and its affiliates, piracy, and the impact of refugees on host country," said President Hassan.

Concluding, President Hassan praised President Kibaki of Kenya for 50 years of political service: "President Kibaki will be missed after he retires from politics in March [2013]. He has contributed to politics in Kenya and the region. He will remain an asset to the people of this region and the world at large. Cheers to your success President Kibaki."

Since his election in Sept. 2012, President Hassan has been at political unease with the Kenyan government regarding the formation of Jubaland state in southern Somalia.

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