21 August 2014

Kenya: Amina Pleads With Iran Over Kenya Tea Exports

Nairobi — Kenya has appealed to Iran to explore ways of addressing the challenges faced by Kenyan tea exporters especially with regard to the repatriation of profits.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed expressed concern that tea exporters face difficulties in transferring proceeds from sales of tea to Kenya.

The CS noted that tea is currently one of Kenya's main exports to Iran, amounting to about 20 percent of Iran's total imports.

"I therefore appeal through you to the relevant authorities to ease the difficulties being encountered by exporters, by streamlining financial intermediation and the certification processes," she said.

Speaking in Tehran where she met her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Cabinet Secretary further pointed out that tea traders were subjected to rigorous inspection and certification processes in Iran despite conforming to good manufacturing practice certification.

"Regarding delays in receiving payments for tea shipments, we should explore other alternatives to address this challenge," she said.

Mohamed expressed gratitude to the Government of Iran for extending $5 million under the Official Development Assistance to enable the Kenya Government conclude scheduled projects under health, education, water and other infrastructure projects.

"I am happy to inform you that to date, the Kenyan Government has completed seven projects in various parts of country, thanks to this assistance", she stated.

Observing that Kenya is faced with the menace of terrorism, the Cabinet Secretary sought the support of the government of Iran in stabilising Somalia to ensure that its government is able to confront acts of terror by Al Shabaab insurgents.

"We seek your support and that of the international community to strengthen the capacity of the Somalia Government to enable it to meet the security challenges posed by Al Shabaab," she stated.

On the appeal from the Iranian side for the exchange of prisoners, Mohamed said the country is in the process of putting the necessary legal framework in place to enable the transfer of prisoners to serve the remainder of their sentences in their own countries.

"A Bill has been tabled before our Parliament and we hope that it will be enacted soon," she said.

Responding to the issue of payments for shipments of tea, the Iranian Foreign Minister attributed the challenge to the punitive economic sanctions imposed on the country by the international community.

He expressed optimism for a favourable outcome in the ongoing nuclear talks in Geneva which would lead to the lifting of sanctions that have impeded transnational transactions.

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