Obama speaks with President Kenyatta on support on refugees

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and US President Barack Obama give a joint press conference at State House in Nairobi on July 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB

What you need to know:

  • Mr Obama reiterated his appreciation for the strong partnership between Kenya and the United States on a host of issues.
  • He hailed the progress Kenya has made on security.
  • The two leaders also discussed the challenges Kenya faces in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees for more than two decades.

US President Barack Obama spoke by phone with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday and pledged his government’s support in ensuring that the needs of refugees and host communities are met.

Mr Obama reiterated his appreciation for the strong partnership between Kenya and the United States on a host of issues, including combatting global terrorism, and hailed the progress Kenya has made on security.

According to a readout of the phone conversation released by the White House Press Office, the two leaders also discussed the challenges Kenya faces in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees for more than two decades and the need for strong international support.

The US leader also acknowledged a condolence message sent to him by his Kenyan counterpart following the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead and 53 others injured on June 12.

A press statement released by the White House on Thursday evening read in part:

“President Obama accepted President Kenyatta’s condolences for the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida.”

“President Kenyatta reiterated that Kenya will continue to respect the dignity and safety of refugees in Kenya and comply with its international legal obligations,” added the statement.

The press release also pointed out that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Obama agreed that the United States and Kenya would continue working closely on a number of other issues without elaborating.

(Editing by Basillioh Mutahi)

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