Sunday, June 03, 2012
Iranian ambassador to Kenya Malek Hossein Givzad says his country is willing to help Kenya and other African countries in the fight against terrorism.
Speaking in Nairobi Sunday, Malek said IGAD countries will this September converge at Tehran to discuss long-term measures to rebuild Somalia and ensure peace in Africa.
Malek lauded the Kenyan government for its efforts in fighting the al shabaab militias saying peace in the region will enhance good trade relations.
His sentiments come in the wake on new threats by the terror group that has warned that it would hit Kenya in two weeks time.
Meanwhile, internal security minister George Saitoti has reiterated the government's resolve to safeguard the lives of its people and property in the face of terror threats by Al-shabaab following successful liberation of sections of Somalia formerly in the hands of rag tag militia.
The latest assurance comes in the wake of a series of attacks against innocent civilians in what Al-Shabaab militia termed as reprisals against Kenyans offensive in Somalia.
Speaking after a Sunday service in Mwiki, Saitoti said the government is doing everything possible to safeguard its citizens through increased surveillance and enhancing police capacity.
He said that the anti-terrorism bill will soon be presented to cabinet for approval and was optimistic parliament would unanimously pass the bill that will play a key role in the fight against terror.
The threats were revealed by a US based intelligent firm IntelCenter which said that the group was planning to bring down tall buildings within two weeks.
Last week, Prime Minister warned that terrorists operating out of Somalia could link up with counterparts in West and North Africa and destabilize huge sections of the Continent if the international community does not act fast to ensure stability in Mogadishu.
Addressing the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia in Turkey Friday, the PM said that despite recent military successes, terrorism emanating from Somalia remains a real threat to eastern Africa and to Somalia itself.
"The recent merger of Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda, and the possibility of the East African terrorists networking with those in North and West Africa, including Boko Haram, presents a new and more dangerous theatre for terrorist activities in Somalia and beyond. It is the more reason we must work overtime to get Somalia up and running again, now," the PM said.
Odinga paid tribute Kenya's and regional troops under the Amisom umbrella, for their efforts in liberating large areas from Al Shabaab control and urged the international community to find ways of moving beyond duplication to build on the successes.
"We must agree on time-bound programmes to consolidate peace in Somalia, to support a legitimate and inclusive political process, and to jump-start recovery, reintroduction of the rule of law, and post-conflict reconstruction and development," the PM said.
Odinga said that some militants, under increased pressure from Amison and TFG forces, are reported to be fleeing to mountain hideouts in Puntland and called for support for authorities in Puntland and Gulmudug to prevent those fleeing from and combining with Al Shabaab.
The PM called for the urgent development of a Somali national security force adding that a nucleus Somali National Army must be established by integrating militia groups into the TFG force and retraining them, so that they assume control and protection of liberated areas.
He said the presence of the Kenya Navy in the vicinity of Kismayu has discouraged pirates in nearby waters although the menace has continued to disrupt shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
Odinga expressed fears that with other supply lines truncated; Al Shabaab might turn to the pirates for help and called for action against pirate supply routes.
The PM however emphasized that containing piracy and restoring normalcy must go beyond military action.
"We must also invest in the infrastructure of hope and opportunities. We must invest in health, education, vocational training, transport and communications, job creation and food production. The youth of Somalia need to see that we have not turned our backs on them but are working to create opportunities," Odinga said.
He said Kenya supports IGAD's efforts to reconcile all political forces and other stakeholders in southern Somalia as it would allow the establishment of local administrations to provide social services and improved security, encouraging refugees to return home and rebuild their lives and their country.
Odinga said Kenya is ready to go the extra mile to help train administrators, security, military and human resources personnel as it did with South Sudan and Namibia to help Somali refugees return home and settle down.
"Having lived with Somali refugees for over two decades now, we in Kenya can testify that the Somali are some of the most enterprising, industrious and innovative people on the Continent of Africa; if not on earth. Somalia needs these people back home to restart and rebuild. We must help this worthy cause," Odinga said.
He called on the people of Somalia to take charge of their destiny, promising that Kenya will stand with them to the end.
"I stand here on a day our country is marking a major national day on which we attained internal self-government from the colonial powers to underscore that Kenya will always stand with you in your quest to redefine your future. We are here to remind you that just as the struggle for independence illustrated, in the end, the destiny of nations is shaped by the willingness of their people to make sacrifices and compromises and hard choices. A bright future beckons. You are on the right path to that future. We assure you that you shall never walk alone on this path. Not as long as Kenya lives," Odinga said.
The PM was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Prof Sam Ongeri and Northern Kenya and Arid Lands Minister Mohammed Elmi, among others.