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Kenya-Sweden pledge to enhance dialogue on closure of refugee camps

By Winfrey Owino | May 25th 2021

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo and Swedish Minister for International Development Co-operation Olsson Fridh.[Courtesy, Standard]

Kenya and Sweden have pledged to enhance dialogue aimed at assessing the closing of refugee camps.

This comes following a meeting between Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo and her Swedish counterpart Olsson Fridh.

In a statement to newsrooms, the ministry said the two ministers discussed the current situation in the region and the refugee situation.

“They agreed to encourage dialogue amongst parties in conflict given Kenya’s important role in the region as a promoter of peace and security, and globally through its seat on the UN Security Council,” the statement read in part.

Kenya last month said it will continue with its plan to close the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps by June 30 next year.

This is after Interior CS Fred Matiang’i met Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi with an aim to fast track the process that will start on May 5 next year.

Earlier on the government had given UNHCR 14 days to have a road map on the definite closure of the two camps.

Matiang’i at the time issued the directive to the UNHCR representative in Kenya Fathiaa Abdalla, saying there was no room for further negotiations.

But the agency warned that the move will have severe results especially in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two Ministers reaffirmed the excellent and long-standing ties existing between Sweden and Kenya, both at bilateral and multilateral levels.

Kenya and Sweden have many shared priorities, especially in the area of trade and investment, gender, agriculture, water and sanitation, urban development, health, energy, environment, climate, oceans and global equitable access to vaccines.

According to the statement, the Swedish Minister announced that his government recently adopted a new development strategy for Kenya for the period 2021-2025 and intends to continue working with Kenya on issues concerning gender equality, climate change and other environment-related strategies, urban development as well as democracy and human rights.

They agreed to establish a joint Technical and Economic Cooperation with a view to enhance bilateral trade and investments between the two countries and to implement development cooperation in a more structured way.

They also agreed on the need for increased exchanges at various levels as a catalyst to deepening relations between the two countries. 

“The Ministers also discussed global as well as multilateral affairs and pledged to maintain the close relationship in the multilateral arena so as to most effectively manage global challenges and opportunities,” read the statement. 


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