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Thank you very much Monica [Juma, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya].
It is a pleasure for me to be here to visit Nairobi for the first time in my current capacity, and it is also a pleasure to see such a good friend here in Nairobi. We often meet around the world, including in important meetings we have among women Foreign Ministers globally. I can say that Monica [Juma] is a strong voice not only for Kenya, but I think for women in Africa, and globally.
It is particularly a pleasure to pay this official visit to Kenya because, as you perfectly said, we have brought our partnership and our friendship, between the European Union and Kenya, to an unprecedented level. In the economic relations we are important partners - the European Union is the first market for Kenyan goods and we have developed a system of exchanges with more than 800 companies from the European Union investing in Kenya. We believe this can be extremely beneficial for job creation and for social and economic developments that can go in a positive direction in particular for the youth of this country - and we see Kenya as not only a gateway to the region and to Africa, but also as an important hub.
I was pleased to tell Monica [Juma] that I inaugurated today our new European Union embassy here in Nairobi. It is the second largest in the world, and this is not by coincidence; it is because of our investment economically, politically and in terms of security. The cooperation we have is key for the European Union and we value Kenya's partnership and friendship enormously.
It is a truly likeminded country. We share values, we share the same approach when it comes to democracy, when it comes to trade, when it comes to investments, but also when it comes to multilateralism and a cooperative approach to peace and security. This is why we are pleased, glad and honored to work hand in hand with Kenya on a number of files, both in the region and globally.
As you said, we had the chance of discussing our preparations on a certain number of important regional files that are for us also global files, and that are key to European security and to global peace: the situation in Somalia, where the European Union continues to be the first supporter of AMISOM [African Union Mission to Somalia], but also and mainly, of the full implementation of the roadmap that we have established together with our Somali partners, both on the economic but also on the security and political tracks in full respect of the Somali Constitution; and the good work we can do together in the region.
We support an even greater involvement of Kenya in the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development], and as you know, the European Union has always had a key role to play in supporting regional cooperation and platforms that can guarantee a cooperative approach in region as crucial as this one, where so much of economic and security interests are concentrated.
The European Union will always be a reliable partner for Kenya and for the region. You can count on us. We are not present here for geopolitical considerations, but for a true sense of partnership and friendship, because we know that if Kenya succeeds, if the Horn of Africa succeeds, if Africa succeeds – if I can say so – this is also the best guarantee for Europe to have a prosperous, secure environment for ourselves.
It is self-interest and friendship at the same time, and this is also the basis, I believe, for a very fruitful way forward. The positive thing is that Monica [Juma] and I agreed today on a certain number of very concrete follow-ups to be done. We have given our teams a to-do list that we will check regularly on many different issues.
Our cooperation can only grow from now on. I can say that today we are at the same time celebrating a new level of friendship and partnership, and investing even more in strengthening this further.
Thank you, Monica [Juma], also for the personal inputs you have given for this new phase of our relationship.
Q. You talked about the security cooperation and the issue of counter-terrorism. Could you clarify if there is going to be any certain support to the country as far as this is concerned?
There is already a security and counterterrorism cooperation between Kenya and the European Union.
I will discuss this issue further today with the Minister of Interior [of Kenya, Fred Matiang'i] and I am sure we will also address this with the President [of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta], because we not only share the same concerns but also the same interest in securing Kenya, and developing an always more effective way of preventing but also handling security challenges, and in particular counter-terrorism and the prevention of radicalisation.
During the rest of my meetings today, we will come up with some more concrete elements. We do have this as one of the top issues on our common agenda of cooperation. The very same fact I mentioned, that more than 800 European businesses are investing here in Kenya, is a shared interest that we have to secure that the situation in the country is safe. From tourism to investments to agriculture, everything requires safe environments, and first and foremost, the people of Kenya deserve it. We are together in this.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-172804