Benin lauds Kenya's role in regional peace

February 16, 2012 9:37 am 

NAIROBI, Feb. 16 — Benin on Wednesday lauded the role being played by Kenya in ensuring peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region.

Visiting Benin President Boni Yayi's special envoy, Professor Naissirou Bako-Arifari, particularly hailed the Kenya Defense Force's ongoing operation against the Al-Shaabab in Somalia.

He was in Nairobi on Wednesday to meet with President Mwai Kibaki. He delivered a special message to the Kenyan leader from the Benin president, who is currently the African Union (AU) chairman.

Kenyan officials said the ongoing military operation in Somalia are part of an inland strategy agreed upon by the region's leaders to bring back peace in Somalia after over 21 years of turmoil.

Regional diplomats said hope is slowly returning to Mogadishu and pockets of investment are beginning to crop up in Mogadishu where residents who were previously fleeing are returning to rebuild because peace is likely for the first time in decades.

They said Kenya's entry had created an opportunity to stabilize Somalia as Nairobi vowed to push for the international community to take full advantage of the situation.

"The special envoy briefed President Kibaki on the forthcoming meeting of selected Heads of State that will be held in Cotonou this month to deliberate on challenges facing the African Union, particularly the election of the AU Commission chairperson and the deputy," said the statement issued after the meeting.

Speaking during the meeting, President Kibaki congratulated his Benin counterpart on his election as chairman of the African Union and expressed optimism that he will steer the AU towards achieving most of its goals during his tenure.(PNA/Xinhua)



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