African Union Commission (AUC) Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat on Thursday held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, where he lauded him for supporting the continental body’s agenda of integration, trade, peace, security and stability.
Mr Mahamat thanked President Kenyatta for showing commitment to the financial and institutional reforms of the African Union (AU).
“We appreciate your support for the Single African Air Transport Market and the African Continental Free Trade Area, among other AU initiatives,” Mr Mahamat said.
Mr Mahamat also commended President Kenyatta for demonstrating great responsibility and leadership in last elections in Kenya that proved to the world that political competition need not be a source of disunity and instability.
On the regional front, the AUC Chairman appreciated the role played by Kenya in promoting peace and stability in Somalia and South Sudan.
“We commend the sacrifice Kenya has continued to make in support of Somalia and South Sudan in terms of human and capital investment,” Mr Mahamat said.
Mr Mahamat appealed to President Kenyatta and his colleagues in IGAD to remain on course in pushing for peace and stability in South Sudan.
“There is need to come up with more original proposals that will help resolve the problem in South Sudan. We are relying on you, Mr President, and your colleagues in IGAD to help,” the AUC Chairman said.
President Kenyatta affirmed his support for the continental integration agenda, saying Kenya is set to submit its papers for the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement that he signed last month in Kigali, Rwanda, with other African leaders.
The President said even as the continent moves towards closer integration that will allow for free movement of people and goods, it should not shut out its traditional trade and development partners especially the Caribbean and Pacific regions.
“Even as we move to strengthen intra-Africa trade, we should not do this at the expense of our African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partnership,” President Kenyatta said.
“There is a growing feeling that Africa is trying to pull out from the ACP partnership,” the President added.
On peace in South Sudan, President Kenyatta voiced the growing concern and impatience on the slow pace of the peace process in Kenya’s northern neighbour.
“The situation in South Sudan is of great concern to us. After Naivasha, we hoped we will have a stable and prosperous country. It is disappointing to see that the situation has deteriorated even further,” President Kenyatta said.
He called on the South Sudan leaders to embrace the IGAD and AU-led peace processes, saying it was sad that the leaders were derailing the peace initiatives.
Mr Mahamat said the AU was considering imposing sanctions on leaders who will appear to be frustrating the South Sudan peace process and appreciated Kenya’s unwavering support to regional peace and stability.
The meeting was attended by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.