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Sudan, Somalia crises a global community issue

EDITORIAL
By | January 11th 2010

Somalia and Southern Sudan represent threats to Kenya’s stability that the international community alone is in a position to manage.

In the first, neglect or minimal engagement has resulted in a precarious status quo, with a weak transiti-onal government under siege as Al-Shabaab insurgents flex their muscle at the border.

In the latter, disputes over implementation of the peace agreement, sharing of resources and preparations for a referendum on autonomy have a number of groups concerned at the possibility of a return to war.

A deterioration of conditions in either instance would lead to a greater burden to Kenya, not just in a larger number of refugees or weapons entering the country. In the last two years, the nation has grappled with four major shocks to the economy — the food crisis, economic crisis, drought and the post-election violence — as well as a number of smaller ones. The result is an economy that is "still standing" but, with construction in decline, tourism under threat and growth at 2.5 per cent, not as robust as it was in 2007. A war in Sudan or renewal of hostilities in Somalia would be one shock too many. We must, therefore, conti-nue pressing for foreign help.

Limited engagement

Everybody appreciates there is a limit to the engagement Western nations and other giants can attempt. But a little pressure can ensure all parties honour the Sudan peace deal and a few critical supplies can bolster the forces in Somalia supporting the TFG. The last thing we want is to have eyes off the simmering conflicts until the moment they explode.

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