By Andrew Ross
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday told a top United Nations official that his country’s recent controversial decision to close the Dadaab refugee camp – the world’s largest – is final.
Kenyatta, meeting with UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, said that since the repatriation process has already started, Kenya most needs the UN’s support in repatriating Somali refugees back to their country.
“The train has already left the station. It’s now up to those who are interested in seeing the success of the journey to get on board,” said Kenyatta.
“We want Somalia helped to take back its citizens and be able to continue with their lives back home. We are doing this not for others, but for ourselves,” he added.
Kenyatta explained to Eliasson that Kenya is not trying to abandon its international obligations, as it still hosts refugees from many other countries.
Eliasson, for his part, commended Kenya’s efforts to help stabilize East Africa, especially South Sudan and Somalia.
Eliasson promised to communicate Kenya’s position on the repatriation of Somali refugees to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grand once he returns to UN headquarters in New York.
Also present at the meeting at State House Nairobi were Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and other senior government officials.