NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 22 – The men in black keep their eyes peeled for any suspicious activity.
The safety of not one but two regional leaders lies in their hands.
It has not been the most secure of times in the East Africa region and it is to this that President Kibaki and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn directed their statements Wednesday at State House.
“During our discussions, we also reaffirmed our commitment to work closely in addressing challenges to security and peace in the region and especially in tackling terrorism, piracy, human trafficking and other organised crimes,” President Kibaki said.
Kenya is among the first countries that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has visited since his inauguration two months ago taking over from the late Meles Zenawi who had been in office for 21 years.
Desalegn had served as Zenawi’s Deputy Prime Minister.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister shared President Kibaki’s sentiments saying, “Kenya and Ethiopia can lead the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] region. Joining hands so that we can secure peace and stability in this sub-region which all of you know is a troublesome area.”
Both leaders agreed that the Kenyan led military incursion into Somalia was an important step in securing the region.
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel where Somali is now being stabilised by the joint effort of Ethiopia and Kenya along with our brothers from the region,” Desalegn continued.
President Kibaki was also optimistic that the appointment of a Prime Minister and Cabinet in Somalia last month, would bode well for the region.
“We welcomed the election of a new government in Somalia as an important step towards the realisation of peace and stability in the country.”
Prime Minister Desalegn acknowledged Kenya’s role in restoring order to the former Al Shabaab strong hold Somalia.
“We thank the government and people of Kenya for sacrificing their beloved children in Somalia for the peace and stability in that country.”
In the face of increased terror activity in the country; the bombing of a mini-bus in Eastleigh Sunday and the shooting of three soldiers in Garissa Monday, the statesmen’s statements come as no surprise.
President Kibaki also expressed concern over the hostile relations between Sudan and the newly independent South Sudan.
“We exchanged views on the recent conflict between these two countries. We underscored the need for these neighbours to stay the course of the agreements signed following recent negotiations and urge them to resolve all outstanding issues within the timeframe given by the African Union Peace and Security Council.”
The two nations came out of the longest running civil war in 2005 with South Sudan becoming independent of Sudan in July of 2011.