Kenya seeking Caribbean support for UN seat

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) —Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta was due back in his country on Saturday after a visit to the Caribbean and urging the seven-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to support his country's bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-22.

“Kenya's candidature is informed by the critical role the UN Security Council plays in the maintenance of international peace and security. Kenya has continued to play a leading role in peace, security and conflict management in the Horn of Africa region and other parts of the world.

“We, therefore, seek and look forward to the support of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States for our bid,” Kenyatta said Friday during talks here with OECS leaders.

The meeting was also attended by the host Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the secretary general of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Irwin Larocque.

Kenyatta had earlier visited Jamaica and held bi lateral talks with Mottley during his three-day visit here.

He told the regional leaders that when the decision was made for his first Caribbean visit, his “desire was clear: to engage with each Caribbean country.

“When this became logistically impossible to achieve, I opted for the second best option, to try and have a space for exchange of views on our common destiny and shared future. This desire is driven by the force of history, the reality of today and imperative of the future,” he said, adding that the visit, the first by a resident of Kenya to the West Indies, offered him a unique opportunity for meeting and discussing with regional leaders.

He said earlier this week he had the honour of attending, as a special guest of the Jamaica Government, the island's 57th anniversary of political Independence from Britain and together with Prime Minister Holness launched the decade of people of African descent.

“Each of these events has strengthened my belief for the need to strengthen the links between Caricom and Africa in general and Kenya, in particular,” he said, adding that it also presented an opportunity “to rekindle our historic heritage of the global African community that subscribed to the Pan-African ethos.

“These values are not new. Our forefathers were bound by them as they worked for the African cause. The entire of free Africa today, particularly the sub-Saharan Africa, is forged on this anvil of African solidarity and Pan Africanist.

“We in Africa consider our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean as our diaspora or the 6th region of Africa. Within the African Union, the African Diaspora, consists of peoples of African origin living outside the continent; irrespective of their citizenship and nationality; and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.”

Kenyatta described his meetings with Holness and Mottley as “very constructive engagements” focused on enhancing cooperation in diverse areas between the two regions, serving also as a catalyst for rebuilding the global African family, in the service of the development and integration.

“This is an imperative especially in the current and foreseeable world — characterised by narrow nationalisms, growing trade war between the East and the West, the European crisis and the evident marginalisation of the development agenda — and with it the African agenda. If we are to shape the evolving global trends we must take charge of the course of history. It seems to me that the moment for that is with us.”

Kenyatta said he was inviting the Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic missions in Kenya and in United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat to facilitate and deepen frequent consultations, as well as follow-up on environmental and human settlement matters.

“Your individual countries diplomatic presence in Nairobi, the global headquarters of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat, will enable you to participate directly in addressing environmental challenges that call for collective international action, informed by scientific research and technical innovation.

“This process of regular consultative dialogue, and active engagement focused on matters of mutual interest in the international arena, will result in symbiotic benefits on matters peace, security and development.”

He said on the economic front, there are enormous opportunities between the countries of both regions to expand trade relations, noting that that intra- African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trade stands at less than 20 per cent.

“This situation needs to be changed if the promise of our solidarity is to be meaningful to our people. We need to create the right environment to encourage each region's private sector to invest and trade at all levels — large, medium and small-size enterprises. As government we can support these through enabling connectivity and movement of people, goods and services. “

He said through Kenya any business from Caricom into the African market, can gain access to an African population of 1.2 billion.

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