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SPEECH/12/174

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga

Press point

Brussels, 8 March 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. It is indeed a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Raila Odinga to Brussels. We just had a very constructive and friendly meeting where we took stock of our relations and also discussed the situation in the region.

Indeed, the EU has very good relations with Kenya and we cooperate closely in areas of common interest and concern.

Today we discussed the situation in Somalia and the fight against piracy. Just two weeks ago, I received the Prime Minister of Somalia, Mr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, and I reaffirmed our firm commitment to continue assisting Somalia to restore peace and stability.

Kenya is a very important partner for the EU in the stabilization and development of the Horn of Africa region, and I really welcome Kenya's decision to integrate its forces in Somalia into AMISOM and all the efforts that Kenya is making to bring stability to the region.

The European Commission will propose to extend its support to AMISOM by an additional 100 million Euro until 2013, giving a clear sign of our commitment to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.

We are also looking at ways to strengthen our cooperation with Kenya on counter-piracy. In fact, we are in the process of deploying a civilian mission to strengthen maritime capacities in the Horn of Africa/Western Indian Ocean Region and we see Kenya as a very important partner in this venture and I really thank Prime Minister for his commitment, we had a very good discussion on these issues.

I have conveyed to the Prime Minister that it is only by joining our efforts that we can contribute to greater security in Somalia and to restore peace and stability in the region.

A peaceful regional environment is also conducive to strengthen political and economic progress in Kenya. I welcome the substantial reform agenda carried under the leadership of Prime Minister Odinga.

The upcoming elections will be an important benchmark in Kenya's reform and reconciliation path. Peaceful, free and fair elections are key to a prosperous and stable Kenya. Prime Minister Odinga is interested in having a European Electorate Commission in Kenya so that he can be sure about the free and fair nature of the elections and we are indeed willing to do that. It is very important the credibility of the elections so that they can reinforce stability, confidence and reconciliation in the country.

We also touched on many other issues from the need to overcome chronic food insecurity in the Horn of Africa as well as cooperation to enhance energy access.

The EU, through its programmes and support in the agriculture, roads, water, governance and human rights sectors, contributes already to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable communities in Kenya, in particular those affected by recurrent droughts. We will provide additional support in these areas.

Across the board there is a very good cooperation going on.

Access to energy is indeed one of the most important needs for many Kenyans. The EU and Kenya will cooperate to define and implement a reform programme aiming at attracting private local and international investments in this sector. The dialogue is going on in this field.

Also, globally, the European Union and Kenya are working for the success of the Rio +20 conference. I had the occasion to state to Prime Minister Odinga the European Union's support to the reinforcement of the programme of the United Nations in environment so to attain the level of a specialised agency.

Mr Prime Minister, I encourage you to go forward in your reform and modernization agenda. The EU will be on your side and on your country's side in this important journey.

Today's meeting covering a broad set of issues shows how important the cooperation relationship between Kenya and the EU is.

I thank you for your attention.


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