[dehai-news] (VOA) Kenyan Foreign Minister Shed Light on U.S.-Kenya Piracy Agreement

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Wed Jan 28 2009 - 08:39:29 EST

  Kenyan Foreign Minister Shed Light on U.S.-Kenya Piracy Agreement By
James Butty
Washington, DC
*28 January 2009*

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula has been giving details about an
agreement between his country and the United States for Kenya to detain and
prosecute pirates captured by the U.S. military off the coast of Somalia.

He told VOA that while Kenya is committed to combating piracy in the Horn of
Africa, the agreement does not mean that Kenya would be a dumping ground for
all captured pirates.

"We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. and UK (United
Kingdom) where in practical situations pirates captured at the Indian Ocean
shipping line area can be tried in Kenyan courts. But it would be dealt with
on a case by case basis. It is not an open door for dumping pirates onto
Kenya soil because it will not be acceptable. We have a bill in parliament
that is coming up and it is going to strengthen the punishment against
piracy, from the current legal provision of 10 years in jail to life
imprisonment. And I believe it will provide some form of deterrence," he

Foreign Minister Wetangula praised U.S. President Barack Obama for his
decision to close down the U.S. terrorist detention center at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba where a Kenyan, Abdulmalik Mohamed is among the detainees.

"I want take the opportunity to congratulate President Obama because the
Guantanamo Bay saga has brought blood on the image of your country, and I
think that he should do the same with Abu Ghraib (prison in Iraq). I don't
know if it is still open. You know the images from Abu Ghraib were
horrendous. So we hope that the fresh air that is being felt all around and
the feel good factor that President Obama has brought to the world stage
will be sustainable so that we get a better world to live in," Wetangula

The Kenyan foreign minister hope President Obama would said the United
States should take the lead in world development by reducing armed conflicts
around the world.

"I think America must take the lead to reduce international armed conflicts
so that the trillions of dollars that are spent on a daily basis on armament
and armed conflicts can be diverted to human development. That way we will
be able to wipe out poverty overnight. And I hope President Obama will take
the lead in not only ending the war in Iraq and Afghanistan but showing the
way that conflicts anywhere in the world are unacceptable because they don't
help the cause of humanity," he said.

Wetangula said Kenya, which has played host to a number of negotiations
aimed at forming a government in Somalia said Kenya was still committed to
bringing about peace in Somalia.

"The situation in Somalia is very volatile; Ethiopia has completely
withdrawn; the U.N. is still dragging its feet in helping us put together
troops for Somalia. We (the Inter-governmental Authority on Development,
IGAD) in Addis from tomorrow, and the issue of Somalia will take center
stage. Kenya like all other members of IGAD states is committed to bringing
normalcy and peace and security to Somalia. It's not easy. Somalia is a
failed state for the last 20 years," Wetangula said.

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