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The East African : Jul 26th 2015
4 OBAMA’S HISTORIC KENYA VISIT Bold new bilateral agreements cement US-Kenya ties Secu≥ity in the ≥egion, health and wildlife conse≥vation get a boost By ALLAN OLINGO The EastAfrican K enya signed several pacts with the US during talks between US President Barack Obama and Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, signalling a deepening of bilateral relations in trade and investment. Addressing a joint press con- ference, President Obama said discussions on the prospects of introducing direct flights between the two countries were ongoing. “It is our hope that this will be actualised very soon so that we can ease the movement of people and goods between the two countries,” he said. The two countries also came up with an action plan that will see increased financial support for the military, judiciary and police. It is also expected that the Kenyan military will receive counterterrorism aid under the Peacekeeping Operations programme through the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism. Prior to the talks, Kenya was expected to seek more funding in addressing the current security challenges posed by Somalia-based Al Shabaab terror group. In 2015, the country received $100 million in a US counter-terror- ism aid package, up from $38 million the previous year. Out of this amount, $95.25 million will go to the military while the remaining $4.75 million goes to the police. The bilateral talks also cen- tred on the instability in the region because of current conflicts in South Sudan and Burundi, with President Obama calling on the warring South Sudan parties to hasten the signing of peace agreements. “We have seen the elections carried out in Burundi against the wishes of the majority. It is our stand that these elections were not credible and we hope that both the Burundi government and opposition will enter into dialogue to unlock this political stalemate,” Mr Obama said. The United States announced that Kenya will be part of the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe initiative (DREAM), which will see the country receive additional support to help it fight HIV/Aids and other communicable diseases. The initiative aims at reducing new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women. President Kenyatta said that the health issues they had discussed were critical and hoped that the US support would boost the fight against HIV and Aids. The question of corruption also formed a key part of their address, with President Obama saying he was happy with Ken- The EastAfrican NEWS JULY 25-31,2015 President Barack Obama inspects a guard of honour on Saturday at the State House, Nairobi. Pic: AFP ya’s progress on fighting corruption. He added that the US had signed a joint commitment with Kenya in order to increase transparency and accountability between the two countries. “It is also important to note “When you start treating people differently because they are different that is when freedoms begin to erode.” President Barack Obama that clean energy is top of the US agenda and we also agreed to have an agreement on how we can help Kenya deal with the climate change challenges,” President Obama said. On poaching and wildlife, the US is proposing a new rule that will see a ban on sale of illegal ivory across all states, a move that is geared to help Kenya in its war against elephant and rhino poaching. On gay rights, President Obama called on Kenyan government to respect the rights of all law abiding citizens. “When you start treating people differently because they are different that is when freedoms begin to erode,” he said. On Friday last week, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Amina Mohamed and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker signed various deals that will see the former gain investments and support to boost its infrastructure, health and taxation sectors. “These agreements also dem- onstrate the desire to strengthen the existing warm and friendly relations and affirm the necessity of promoting co-operation in our respective countries,” Ms Mohamed said. The signing of the double tax- East Af≥ican visit enhanced secu≥ity co-ope≥ation By FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s visit to East Africa enhanced bilateral relations with regional countries, especially Kenya and Ethiopia, key partners in the war against terror. Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States on a Security Governance Initiative-Joint Country Action Plan. The visit enabled Kenya and Ethiopia to engage the US on the increased security threats from the Somalia-based militants Al Shabaab. The SGI-JCA includes the Co- operation in Threat Reduction Biological Engagement Programmes Agreement, which aims at facilitating efforts to reduce the threat from naturally occurring diseases, biological attacks or unintentional release of biological pathogens and toxins and the risks posed by nonstate actors of engaging in bioterrorism. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohamed said the MoU was the conclusion of lengthy negotiations and a demonstration of the desire to strengthen exist- ing ties. “The Joint Country Action Plan will contribute to better border management, enhanced capacitiy for police human-resource management and effective administration of justice in Kenya,” she said. Security remained top on the agenda of President Obama’s engagement with East African leaders. Besides assistance in modern technology on security, the US provides training to Kenyan civilian and military forces on counterterrorism while Kenya is one of the leading recipients of US foreign assistance on security. In his address to the nation on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that there is close cooperation with the US and that the war on terror would be central to his talks with President Obama. That is why President Obama’s visit to Addis Ababa after Nairobi will focus on how Ethiopia is dealing with the increased threats of Al Shabaab as a frontline state, plus a visit to the African Union. President Obama had, prior to his arrival in Nairobi, declared that his fifth visit to Africa indicated that the US is a strong partner not just for Kenya but for sub-Saharan Africa in general. The visit to the region is a fol- low-up to the US-Africa summit in Washington last year, in which the Obama administration focused on trade and investment in Africa and highlighted America’s commitment to Africa’s security and the continent’s democratic development. Countries in the East African region such as Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia secured pledges of US assistance on security.
Jul 19th 2015
Aug 2nd 2015