Saturday, September 22, 2012
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday praised the international community for supporting efforts to stabilize Somalia and urged for more to ensure that the Horn of Africa nation enjoys peace and stability.
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Richard Onyonka said also commended the great role of the church, civil society and community leaders in building and cementing peace at the local level in different parts of the world.
"We commend the international community for the significant progress achieved thus far in Somalia, and encourage sustained focus on and coordinated support for Somalia in a bid to ensure that the cycle of conflict is broken completely, and that a culture of peace takes root there," he said during the celebration of mark the International Day of Peace.
Onyonka said Kenya is convinced that peace and stability at the regional level is essential for its own well-being.
"Kenya has therefore been an active proponent of peace within the region and beyond, and has embraced peace diplomacy as a key pillar of its foreign policy," he said during the celebrations held in Nairobi.
The lawlessness in the Horn of Africa nation forced Kenya to deploy its troops in the southern region where Al-Shabaab militants had been staging bomb and grenade attacks including abductions of foreigners on the Kenyan soil.
The deployment of the Kenyan troops in the southern regions have so far helped to prevent the movement of explosives from the strategic towns of Husingo and Badhade, the conduit points for the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the counterfeit electronics and contraband sugar smuggling across the region.
Military officials said these regions are crucial to the stabilization of Kenya’s coastal and northeastern provinces, which have been targeted by attackers preying on soft civilian targets.
Onyonka said the East African nation firmly believes that the success of peace initiatives, particularly in the Horn of Africa, is through sustained action such as peacekeeping and peace- enforcement programs that support peace.
He said the momentum built towards stabilizing Somalia and setting the country firmly on the road to peace, reconstruction and development are a testament to this fact.
He said the International Day of Peace provided an opportunity to reflect on past experiences and learn from them.
He paid tribute to all the great men and women who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace, and in honoring the memory of those who lost their lives in the cause of peace.
"Their work encourages others to participate in peace processes.
"Kenya appreciates the significant contributions made by the United Nations, its agencies and affiliated organizations, as well as individual countries towards the cause of global peace," he said.
Onyonka said sustainable peace for a sustainable future begins with each and every individual, adding that it requires each person to make a conscious decision to build and uphold a culture of peace, beginning at home and working up to the national and international level.
"Peace in the world is possible and is progressing everywhere.
"However, we must all continue to nurture and jealously guard the peace we enjoy, and to take action to ensure that any party directly or indirectly contributing to or fueling conflict is stopped," he noted.
Onyonka said the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace, Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future, has particular significance for the Horn of Africa which has been afflicted by relentless instability and conflict fuelled by various militia groups.
"Indeed, sustainable peace is fundamental to effective governance, socio-economic development and prosperity.
"This year’s theme underlines the fact that we cannot have a sustainable future without sustainable peace," he said.
According to Onyonka, building a culture of peace demands that people nurture the values of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity and respect for diversity, dialogue and understanding.
"At the national level, Kenya is committed to ensuring the observance of these values. Kenya’s Constitution identifies them as fundamental to a sustainable future. Indeed, these values are entrenched in the Bill of Rights and Article 10 on Kenya’s National Values and Principles," he added.
Onyonka said the government is focused on ensuring that these Constitutional provisions are fully implemented through legislative, policy and administrative mechanisms, as well as institutional reform programs.
The East African nation will be holding its first general election under the new constitution, as well as the first after the traumatic post-election violence that ensued after the 2007 general elections.
Onyonka said a comprehensive mapping exercise has been undertaken to identify current and potential trouble spots, and measures put in place to prevent their occurrence.
These include the recruitment, training and deployment of sufficient numbers of security agents which is underway.