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Kenya: President Kibaki urges Italy to mobilize support for Somalia

News and Press Release
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President Mwai Kibaki has urged the government of Italy to lobby other group members for additional resources to help stabilize the security situation in Somalia. Italy is a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia.

Speaking today at his Harambee House office when he held talks with the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Franco Frattini, President Kibaki said his Government remained committed to supporting all initiatives by the international community geared towards restoring peace in Somalia .

Noting the contribution of Kenya and Italy in the restoration of peace in Somalia , President Kibaki hailed Italy for her continued support to a peaceful and lasting solution to the Somali conflict.

He hailed the Italian Minister's visit, saying besides strengthening the ties between the two countries, it would enhance Kenya 's efforts in the war on piracy in the Indian Ocean and security in the region.

The Head of State also thanked Italy for converting a Kenyan government debt of Ksh 4.6 billion to development aid channeled to education, health and water sectors.

President Kibaki said the conversion of the outstanding debts through a Debt for Development swap agreement would go a long way in supporting the Government's efforts to uplift the living standards of Kenyans.

President Kibaki thanked Italy for granting Kenya the opportunity to hold the first ever Kenya Tourism, Cultural and Economic Forum at the city of Milan .

The forum, the Head of State noted, enabled lobbying for the country as a premier tourist and investment destination for Italian tourists and investors.

The President welcomed tourists from Italy and other countries to visit renowned attraction sites in the country and sample the diverse wildlife, culture and hospitality of the Kenyan people.

Mr. Frattini, on his part, said Italy views Kenya as a strategic ally in pushing for peace in Somalia .

The Minister expressed his country's commitment to working closely with the international community in seeking a lasting peace in Somalia .

The talks were attended by Foregin Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura among others.