10 May 2014

Kenya: China to Help in Repatriation of Somali Refugees

Nairobi — Visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has assured that his government will assist in the repatriation of Somali refugees, as part of their efforts to boost security in the region.

The premier who spoke after a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi said China is committed to assist Africa, and Kenya in particular to be stable economies.

"China supports the efforts of Kenya in safeguarding state sovereignty and stability, developing the economy and improving people's lives," Li said during a joint press conference on Saturday.

"Just as I said to Mr President in our talks, China is prepared to provide supplies of assistance through Kenya for the repatriation for the Somali refugees."

Kenya has recently vowed to repatriate all Somali refugees back to their law-less country, following insecurity challenges posed at the border points, and the in capital Nairobi and Mombasa.

Although some of the international humanitarian organizations are opposed to the move, the Kenyan government has vowed to carry on the exercise.

During the press conference, Li said China will also play a part in ensuring stability in South Sudan which also contributes to the region's economy, especially in providing humanitarian assistance.

On Friday, South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar signed a peace deal vowing to end the nearly five months of civil war that has left thousands killed and millions more displaced.

"China has provided humanitarian assistance to South Sudan and we will continue to do so in the future," Li assured.

On his part, President Kenyatta acknowledged China's support in regional peace and stability, saying the intervention by AMISOM has stabilised the situation in Somalia and has limited the acts of piracy along the East African coast.

"We seek a deeper engagement with China on matters of peace and security. Our talks centered on issues of critical importance and particularly on Somalia and South Sudan," the President said.

He maintained that Kenya was ready to work with China as the latter possesses political, diplomatic and financial assets that would be a game-changer in the regions' peace and security effort.

"IGAD recently achieved substantial success in South Sudan, when the leaders of the main contending parties, President Kiir and Machar, reached a peace deal," the President said.

Li is in Kenya on his final leg of a tour of four African nations, during which he will seal deals on key development projects with President Kenyatta, to boost trade ties with the World's second largest economy.

The two leaders have already witnessed the signing of 17 new deals by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers from China.

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