I Have No Control Over Travel Advisories Against Kenya, Obama Says

US President Barack Obama has said “he does not meddle” with decisions on travel advisories against Kenya as they are not political.

Obama said the “judgment calls” are based on assessments by the State Department and intelligence teams.

He said the advisories are aimed at protecting embassy staff and other personnel, but that the public is also advised based on the same analysis.

“I think the general public would be disturbed if we are saying one thing to folks who are working here and another thing to an ordinary person who is travelling here,” he said.

He addressed the matter in a joint press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta, following bilateral talks at State House, Nairobi on Saturday.

But Obama noted exaggeration by the media sometimes affects countries more than the travel advisories issued against them.

He said part of his answer to the “unfortunate” problem would be to visit the country and show the “extraordinary progress” that has been made.

“My solemn goal is to make sure we are working urgently with President Kenyatta and the administration so that there is no need for the advisories because we will have greatly reduced this threat,” he said.

Following a spate of attacks by the Somalia-based terror group, European countries, including the UK, have issued advisories against travel to certain parts of Kenya.

Obama said US will increase funding to the security sector and provide necessary support in the war against terrorism.

Regarding direct flights to Kenya, the US President said his administration is working with Kenya to iron out pending issues.

“I cannot give dates but there are some issues like security that need to be worked out. We have sent officials to work with Kenyan officials to address them,” he said.

“It [direct flights] has great potential on business and tourism.”

Obama and Uhuru are co-hosting the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit taking place at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi.

He visited the August 7th Memorial Park earlier in the day, and laid a wreath in memory of more than 200 people killed in the August 7, 1998 US embassy bomb blast.

He is due to give a public address at the indoor arena at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani and a public lecture at Kenyatta University before leaving for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.