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Statement by His Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. MWAI KIBAKI, C.G.H., M.P., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 67TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Mr. President,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and a pleasure for me to once again address this august assembly.

Mr. President,

Kenya is at a time in its history that is full of hope for a bright future. Over the past ten years, our country has enjoyed a sustained blossoming of democracy. In 2010, Kenya adopted a new Constitution. With that Constitution, we further secured the human rights and civil liberties of our citizens and entrenched constitutional governance and justice.

Equally important, over the past ten years, we have scored significant victories against diseases including HIV and AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other childhood and adult maladies.

Hundreds of thousands more children have found their way into school and many more adults have found new life skills through training and capacity-building.

We have also pulled hundreds of thousands of Kenyans out of poverty and put them on the pathway to economic independence and self-reliance.

In doing this, we have also expanded our economic base - opening up new and extensive infrastructure, energy and information technology projects.

The achievements in our country have been attained through the respect for the rule of law, sound policies, improved governance, as well as open and innovative democracy.

However, as all Kenyans recognize, we still have a lot more work to do. Poverty, disease and unemployment still remain a big challenge for us. Nevertheless, I am confident that we will seize opportunities to innovate and invest, and thus keep our country on the road to even greater prosperity.

Mr. President,

In accordance with this year’s theme: “The Settlement of International Disputes or Situations by Peaceful Means”, Kenya’s achievements over the past ten years have been built on the bedrock of peaceful resolution of disputes and situations in our country. In addition, it is our belief that inclusive solutions to disputes can bring lasting peace. We know from our own history and that of our neighbours, that where conflicts and disagreements are not resolved peacefully, the suffering and bloodshed that follows and the collapse of economic and social development leads to tragic consequences.

It is for this reason, that we are convinced that Kenya’s own wellbeing and prosperity is hinged on sustained peace, security, stability and inclusive democracy in our region.

My country therefore, remains supportive of efforts spearheaded by the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the International Conference on the Great Lakes and the East African Community for the peaceful and inclusive settlement of disputes and situations.

Such regional efforts are central to the future of multilateral peace-building. They must be the building blocks of international efforts to maintain peace and security in our region and the world.

Kenya therefore welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s initiative to convene a series of High-Level Meetings during this week to discuss the political and security situations in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and the Sudan.

With regard to Somalia, Kenya joined the African Union Mission in Somalia and through the combined efforts of AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government forces, we have witnessed the progressive liberation of large areas of Somalia from Al-Shabaab occupation.

This development enabled the transitional government to focus on the implementation of the Kampala Roadmap with a view to forming a unified Government anchored on the pillars of good governance and the rule of law. We are encouraged by recent developments in Somalia and in particular, the election of a new President, Prime Minister and Parliament and adoption of a new Constitution.

There are millions of Somalis forced to live outside Somalia. Over 650,000 are in one refugee camp in Kenya. Following the liberation of large sections of South Central Somalia from Al Shabaab, we look forward to working with the relevant United Nations agencies and the international community in facilitating the return of Somali refugees to these areas. This will enable the effective participation of all Somalis in re-building Somalia.

Mr. President,

As regards the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, Kenya is appreciative of the positive developments of 4th August 2012 relating to the long-standing dispute over oil resources. We hope that this important agreement marks a first step towards reducing tensions between the two sister-countries.

Kenya appreciates the efforts of the international community, both directly and through the African Union, and encourages the two sides to work towards reaching a compromise. I especially commend the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, for its determination and leadership in steering the negotiations. We are confident that both countries will agree to urgently address contentious issues on border security.

Kenya will continue to support efforts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to disputes between the people of Sudan and South Sudan. We encourage the international community to re-double its efforts to fast-track support for social and economic development in South Sudan for the benefit of citizens of the new country.

Mr. President,

Kenyans are saddened by the great suffering and bloodshed endured by populations around the world, especially in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Africa.

It is our belief that when Nations rush to arms, and abandon the option of peaceful settlement of disputes, suffering and bloodshed will ensue. We call upon all warring parties in the world to lay down their arms and pursue the path of peace, dialogue and inclusive resolution of disputes.

Mr. President,

We also remain concerned that no progress has been achieved on the issue of Palestine. As I stated last year here at the General Assembly, Kenya believes in the Two-State solution where the territorial integrity of Palestine within the 1967 borders is upheld and the peace and security of Israel are both assured and guaranteed. In this regard, it is our hope that Palestine will soon be welcomed into the Community of Nations with full membership in the United Nations.

Mr. President,

There can be no lasting peace without sustainable and inclusive development. Kenya, therefore, greatly appreciates the achievements of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held earlier this year in Brazil.

Kenya is encouraged that in line with recommendations proposed during the Conference, this General Assembly session has placed high on its agenda some of the decisions we took in Rio de Janeiro. This is indeed, an indication of our collective political will to ensure that the decisions contained in the Outcome Document are implemented.

Key among these, is the decision to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development, including the upgrading of United Nations Environment Programme.

Kenya appreciates this historic decision to strengthen and upgrade UNEP. This decision will enable it to fulfill its mandate effectively. Kenya reiterates her commitment to continue hosting and facilitating the work of a revamped UNEP, and we look forward to the eventual transformation of UNEP into a fully-fledged organization for the global environment.

Finally, Mr. President, we are all aware that many of our modern disputes and conflicts revolve around concerns of water, available land and agriculture, forests, rivers and lakes. Our environment and the effects of climate change are therefore an important part of the resolutions of disputes and conflicts around the world. Strengthening global institutions that deal with the environment, our biodiversity as well as climate change must therefore be a core part of our strategy to avoid conflict and disputes among the peoples of the world.

Finally, Mr. President, it is important that as the community of nations, we invest in the peaceful settlement of international disputes. However, we must invest first in the prevention of disputes and second, in addressing the root causes of conflicts such as poverty, inequity, disregard for international law, disrespect for each other’s socio-cultural and religious beliefs, among others.

Only by addressing the root causes of conflict and disputes can we hope to find lasting peace in a just and equitable world.

I thank you.

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