UN: Ban, Kenyatta discuss govt's decision to close refugee camps

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday spoke
by telephone with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta following the Kenyan
government’s recent decision to close Dadaab refugee camps.

In a statement issued in New York, Ban expressed deep appreciation to Kenyatta
and the people of Kenya for decades of generous hospitality to significant
populations of asylum-seekers and refugees.

It stated: "The UN Secretary-General assured President Kenyatta that he
appreciated the enormous task and responsibility involved in hosting large
numbers of refugees, amid daunting security challenges."

The UN chief also urged the Kenyan leader to continue to use the
2013 Tripartite Agreement, signed with Somalia and the UN High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR), as a basis for the voluntary return of Somali refugees
in safety and dignity.

Ban expressed UN's support to Kenya, including the proposal by the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, that a high-level bilateral review
on the refugee situation in Kenya be conducted by the Kenyan government
and the UN refugee agency.

He also disclosed that the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the UN refugee
chief would visit Kenya at the end of May.

"The two UN top officials look forward to discussing this issue forward with
the Government of Kenya, and will underline the readiness of the United
Nations to garner the support of the international community in addressing
Kenya’s refugee challenges, with consideration for the host communities in
Kenya as well as the sub-regional security concerns," the UN chief said.

PANA recalled that, on 6 May, Kenya's Ministry of Interior said that the
government had disbanded its Department of Refugee Affairs and was
working on a mechanism for the closure of the country's refugee camps,
a decision that could affect as many as 600,000 people.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  18May2016

18 may 2016 18:27:32

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