Uhuru meets Cameron in show of softening UK-Kenya relations ahead of visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK meet at the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK meet at the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo/PSCU

The President and the British PM held talks in New York on Monday, signalling steps towards rebuilding the relationship between Kenya and the UK.

Uhuru Kenyatta and David Cameron, who is set to visit Kenya in 2016, discussed forging stronger security, economic and diplomatic pacts.

“It is time for us to reset our relationship and put the past behind us,” Cameron said, adding that he looks forward to the renewal of a military agreement for the training of British troops in Kenya.

The British PM said he regretted the effects of advisories issued against travel to Kenya following a series of al Shabaab attacks.

He said the advisories are by independent arms but noted that the government had made it clear they would affect Kenya's economy and strain efforts against terrorism.

“We all agree that the effect of the advisories are what the terrorists actually want because it defeats the efforts to stop extremists from seducing people into their activities,” he said.

Uhuru said the travel advisories are counterproductive as they contribute to unemployment, which he said makes it easier for extremists to brainwash and recruit youths.

“The advisories work contrary to our aim to defeat extremism and they have hurt the economy of the whole Coast region,” he said.

The President said the two countries will further strengthen their cooperation on security matters.

Uhuru and Cameron also discussed regional efforts to stabilise Somalia, South Sudan and other areas facing conflict.

They agreed on the need for a more concerted global effort to stabilise Somalia by defeating al Shabaab, a militia group that threatens the region.

Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) and Joseph Nkaissery (Interior), UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and five senior British advisors attended the meeting.