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Absorb troops, Kenya tells UN as support cut

By Roselyne Obala | June 15th 2016

Kenya wants troops in the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom) assimilated by the UN after the  announced it will scale down its funding by 20 per cent.

Kenya ran into trouble with EU over the closure of Daadab Refugee Camp, which houses at least 350,000 refugees from Somalia. The UN and the EU have even sent delegations to Kenya seeking reversal of the decision to no avail.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to lobby the UN on the matter at the ongoing European Union Development Day in Brussels, Belgium, where he is scheduled to give a keynote address at a forum, dubbed “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Action, our World, our future”.

The event to be attended by EU members, leaders including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, finds Kenya under pressure over closure of Dadaab.

Although Kenya has refused to rescind its decision, citing environmental and security matters, Uhuru insists a stable Somalia is important for her neighbours.

Uhuru will also seek funding to help in the repatriation of refugees, set to start once Kenya and Somalia have agreed on the modalities.

Kenya faulted the EU over its decision to slash funding to Amisom, which Kenya Defence Forces are part of, arguing this will greatly affect the troops in their efforts to maintain peace.

“Kenyatta will seek to have Amisom made part of the UN mission,” said Johnson Weru,  Kenya’s Ambassador to Belgium.

“EU has decided to reduce funding to Amisom and our response has been, if you reduce this funding the net effect will be reduction of troops in the operation. The soldiers receive their stipend from that support.”

EU said it can no longer contribute to the forces’ kitty alone and has urged other partners to help it shoulder the burden.

“President Kenyatta will be seeking to have Amisom transformed into UN forces,” said Weru.

Kenya has been accused of breaching international laws on the management of refugees by closing the camp. However, Uhuru has maintained that the decision is within the laws and the repatriation will be done in a secure, safe and humane manner.

Uhuru is also expected to hold discussions with EU President Donald Tusk and the UN boss during his stay in Belgium when they are expected to deliberate on various issues, including trade, governance and economic empowerment.

According to Weru, the issue of refugees has never emerged at the EU meeting. 

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