Activities of Secretary-General in Kenya, Somalia, 8-9 December

16 December 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Kenya, Somalia, 8-9 December

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, in the afternoon of Thursday, 8 December.  He met with the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, and the Foreign Minister of Kenya, Moses Wetangula.  They discussed the situations in Somalia, in Sudan and South Sudan.

The next morning, the Secretary-General left for Mogadishu on an unannounced visit to the Somali capital.  Upon arrival, he met with leaders of the Transitional Federal Government: the President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed; the Prime Minister, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali; and the Speaker of Parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

Speaking at a press conference afterwards, he said that he believed this was a critical juncture for Somalia — a moment of fresh opportunities for the future of Somali people.  He added that the window of opportunity was limited and progress needed to be made on the political, military and humanitarian fronts.  He also announced that the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) would relocate to Mogadishu in January 2012.

The Secretary-General received a briefing by the Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  He also met with United Nations staff working in Mogadishu, including staff from the United Nations Mine Action Service.

The Secretary-General then travelled to the Dadaab complex, a refugee site in Kenya, on the border with Somalia, which hosts the largest number of Somali refugees in the world.  He visited the United Nations compound and met with refugee leaders.  He also met privately with a refugee family and held an exchange with United Nations agency staff working in Dadaab.

In a press encounter at Dadaab, the Secretary-General said that he condemned attacks against United Nations and non-governmental organization offices by Al‑Shabaab.  He said these were attacks on people trying to help the most vulnerable.  He added that his visit to Dadaab was humbling and that the international community had a moral responsibility to provide basic needs and life-saving support to the people of Somalia.  He also noted that he had strongly urged the Kenyan Government to provide the necessary assistance to the refugees and not to return them.

The Secretary-General left Dadaab in the late afternoon of 9 December for Doha, Qatar.

For information media. Not an official record.