Kenya 'will stand firm' in Somalia, Kenyatta tells UN

Tuesday September 29 2015

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 28, 2015 at the United Nations in New York. PHOTO | DON EMMERT |

President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged in his address to the United Nations General Assembly that Kenya "will stand firm in support of the Federal Government and the people of Somalia."

He said that Kenyan forces will continue to operate alongside the Somali national army and within the framework of the African Union military mission in Somalia.

Speaking to world leaders gathered for the opening of the 70th session of the General Assembly, he acknowledged that the continued threat posed by al-Shabaab has had "a great impact on Kenya's national security and economy at large."

Kenya has expended billions of shillings on regional peace and security and many Kenyan lives lost in terrorist attacks, Mr Kenyatta noted, urging the international community to take strong action against the terror group and to focus on "the phenomenon of foreign fighters."

The president added that "we must collectively address the radicalisation of the youth as the pipeline for global terrorism and its financing at the grassroots, where most of the youth are radicalised."

However, he did not specify what steps should be taken in these regards.


He also expressed concern about another unstable neighbouring country: South Sudan.

While calling on both sides in South Sudan's civil war to abide by the recently signed peace agreement, he implored UN's member-states to support the realisation of "comprehensive, just and sustainable peace" in the strife-torn country.

Hinting at the frustration and impatience shared by many mediators of the conflict, the Kenyan leader declared that South Sudan "needs to get on the path of peace, development and reconstruction, and to do so urgently."

The Kenyan president also addressed the issues of climate change, equitable global development and East African regional integration in the course of his 30-minute speech.