NAIROBI - High-level bilateral talks
between Kenya and Somalia were held today in Nairobi with an aim of resuscitating
cooperation in various fields between the two countries.
The talks were co-chaired by Vice President Moody Awori and the Somalia Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Geed, and attended by several ministers and senior government officials from the two countries.
During the talks a Draft Economic and Technical Agreement was reached whereby top on the agenda is capacity building to enable reconstruction and putting up of the necessary infrastructure for effective and efficient Somalia government.
Briefing the press after the three-hour talks held at Harambee House, Nairobi, Mr. Awori said it is of great interest to Kenya to see Somali residents settle and embark on rebuilding the country.
"It is of great interest to Kenya, having participated in resolving conflicts in that country. We want to see that efforts towards peace bear fruits," he said.
The Vice President said the two countries agreed to set up a channel of communication offices to be headed by a senior government official from Kenya in liaison with an equally senior official from Somalia.
The office will coordinate the kind of bilateral exchanges and identify priority areas to be addressed by the two countries.
Mr. Awori said the meeting saw an urgent need for capacity building for Somalia to enable it put up the necessary infrastructure. He noted that many Somali nationals acquired education while out of their country during the civil turmoil, and that it was important to harness their potential through specific trainings.
He said Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was recognised and mandated to continue overseeing the settling down of the new transitional Somalia Government and the reconstruction of that country.
The Somali Prime Minister thanked the government and the people of Kenya for the continued assistance to the people of Somalia and for necessitating peace talks that culminated in the formation of the transitional government.
Prof. Geed said the challenge for the new government is to restore peace, stability and the rule of law in every part of the country.
He stressed that the transitional government is committed to achieve effective and efficient administration which will serve all people of Somalia down to the grassroots' level.
The Prime Minister requested the Kenya government to continue assisting Somali nationals in the processing of travelling documents until his country put in place the necessary arrangements to have the documents processed back at home.
Prof. Geed who was accompanied by high powered delegation, said the people of Somalia appreciated the hospitality accorded to them by Kenyans. He appealed to the government and at the people of Kenya to continue assisting Somali refugees until they are able to go back home.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has clarified that President Yussuf Ali, did not land in Somalia as expected after leaving Nairobi. Prof. Geed said the president left for Somalia late after the plane he was to travel in developed a technical problem.
"The Head of State arrived after nightfall in Somalia and it was not safe for the plane to land at Johar airstrip where he was awaited by thousands of people because the airstrip has no night landing facilities currently," he clarified.
The Prime Minister said the president decided to proceed to Doha, Qatar to attend a Summit for the African Gulf States after refuelling in Djibouti.
Present on the Kenyan side during the talks included Ministers, John Michuki, John Koech, Linah Kilimo, David Mwiraria several assistant ministers and the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Muthaura among other senior civil servants.