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Kenya gears up for visit from Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi

by Chrispinus Omar NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is preparing to host Somalia’s newly-elected President Mohamed Abdullahi, known as Farmajo, who will visit the country on March 23, a Kenyan official said Sunday.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said Nairobi was eager to explore opportunities for cooperation with Somalia on an urgent basis and to conclude diplomatic agreements on several fronts.

"The question of Somali’s security and stability is one (subject) that will be discussed when President Mohamed Abdullahi makes his first state visit to Kenya on Thursday," Esipisu told reporters.

Kenya plans to conclude an agreement with Somalia on political consultations between their foreign ministries, and Esipisu said the two sides also underscored the urgent need to conclude an agreement to enhance cooperation on immigration.

Kenya also wants to engage Somalia on the modalities of immigration cooperation and on a new comprehensive border management system.

Kenya is currently building a wall along its common border with Somalia to stem the flow of militants bent on causing havoc to its civilian population.

Esipisu said Nairobi was also aiming to conclude an agreement with Somalia on police cooperation and training of the Somali Police during Farmajo’s state visit.

Kenya has deployed an estimated 5,000 troops in Somalia to help stop the advance of the Al-Shabaab.

Kenyan officials said the militant group remained a threat and a destabilizing factor in the country and the region.

"The threats of terrorism and piracy have not fully abated.

"Stabilization of the liberated areas and to ensure their effective governance remains of critical concern," the State House official said.

The two leaders are scheduled to discuss the pending withdrawal of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) slated to begin in 2018.

Kenyatta said the withdrawal also means both sides need to scale up the efforts to build the Somalia national security architecture and strengthen the security apparatus to facilitate a smooth handover.



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