President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya held talks here Monday with visiting United States Secretary of State John Kerry, focusing mainly on the security situation in neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia and on combating terrorism.

President Kenyatta told Kerry that the recent violent skirmishes in Juba had serious implications for the implementation of the South Sudan Peace Agreement signed in August 2015. He expressed concern that implementation of the Peace Agreement had been sluggish and under severe threat because of lack of commitment by the parties involved.

Following the resurgence of armed conflict in that country, President Kenyatta informed the Secretary of State, the Council of Ministers of the Inter-Governmental Authoity on Development (IGAD), had met in Nairobi last July and worked out a roadmap to restore normalcy in South Sudan.

“This was followed by the IGAD-Plus Summit of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda, in July 2016; and later in Addis Ababa in August 2016,” added President Kenyatta, who commended the US for its leadership role in sponsoring the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2304 of 2016 on South Sudan.

The President thanked the US Government and the international community for standing with the region in support of the South Sudan peace process.

On Somalia, President Kenyatta urged the US and the international community to continue engaging in the Horn of Africa country proactively to sustain the stabilization efforts.

He informed Kerry that implementation of governance and formation of the State organs as envisioned in the Somalia Vision 2016 was in progress.

He expressed hope that following the endorsement of the electoral calendar by the National Leadership Forum, Somalia would stick to the election time-table which will culminate in the election of a President on Oct 30.

“The success of the electoral process depends on the support from the International community and partners,” President Kenyatta said, adding that the combined forces of AMISOM (The African Union Mission in Somalia) and the Somalia National Army had registered remarkable progress on the security front.

Noting that the African Union plans to drawdown the AMISOM force level by 2018, the President underscored the need to mobilize resources to carryout effective operations and build capacity of the Somalia National Army to take over the mandate.

Kerry expressed support for Kenya’s leadership in seeking and finding solutions for regional security. He said the US looked to Kenya for continued leadership in efforts to secure the region and boost economic environment.

They noted, with satisfaction, the strong bilateral ties between Kenya and the US. They also applauded the increasing the investment in Kenya by US firms.

The State House meeting was also attended by Cabinet Secretaries (Ministers) Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and Prof. Judy Wakhungu (Environment and Natural Resources) as well as senior government officials.

Kerry was accompanied by the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, National Security Council Director for Africa Martis Flacks, US Special Envoy for South Sudan Ambassador Donald Booth and the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec.