NAIROBI (HAN) June 15.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. By OLIVE BURROWS. President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Wednesday take his campaign to have the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) upgraded to a UN Mission to the European Union Headquarters in Brussels where he will meet United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
President Kenyatta has strongly opposed the EU plan to cut funding to AMISOM troops by 20 percent saying it is not only in Kenya’s interest to crush the Al Shabaab terrorist group, but a global gain.
It was a subject given priority when he called on French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel back in April and both European leaders agreed that it was not only pertinent but imperative that global leaders work together to dismantle the web of international terrorist cells.
On his visit to Belgium, President Kenyatta will take advantage of his invitation to give the keynote address during the opening of the 10th edition of the European Development Days forum, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, to bring his concern over the funding right to the doorstep of the European Commission.
He is also more than likely to bring it up during his talks with Ban who will also be attending the forum together with the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and several other world leaders.
Rather than a reduction in funding, President Kenyatta contends that the mission in Somalia requires greater global participation both in boots on the ground and intelligence sharing; both of which require adequate, sustained funding.
Which is why he is seeking to compel the 28 member strong European Union to stay true to the course and continue to financially assist in the destruction of the Al Shabaab which though split, has ties to Al Qaeda
The EU is undoubtedly sympathetic to his cause given it has itself fallen victim to terror attacks with Belgium having been hit less than three months ago; but they’re also likely to support a more equitable spread, internationally, of the financial cost of equipping and keeping troops in Somalia.
Ban will most likely be making a few demands of his own of President Kenyatta; chief among them a re-consideration of the plan to close the Dadaab camp due to the continued instability in Somalia where Al Shabaab claims it killed two Kenyan spies over the weekend in only its latest act of terror.
Which, it could be argued, makes President Kenyatta’s point; that the UN needs to put its money where its mouth is and take on a greater role in restoring peace to Somalia.
So far President Kenyatta has stuck to his guns on the closure of Dadaab despite attempts by the UN Security Council and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi to change his mind; he therefore goes into his meeting with Ban with a strong hand.