NAIROBI, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday commended Somalia for successfully holding a peaceful presidential election, saying it was proof that the Horn of Africa country was heading in the right direction.
Speaking in Nairobi when he received a special message from the new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Kenyatta said the conclusion of the electoral process and peaceful transfer of power will help stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
"The way the election was conducted and the subsequent peaceful transfer of power has made us very proud," he said in a statement issued after the meeting.
The new president, Abdullahi Farmajo, who holds dual Somali-U.S. citizenship was declared the winner on Feb. 8 after two rounds of voting by the Somali Parliament in Mogadishu in an electoral process that took almost 18 months.
The runner-up, the incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, chose to withdraw from a third and final round of voting and congratulated the former PM on his victory.
President Kenyatta observed that the election held recently gave renewed hope to the Somali people and international community that Somalia was on the road to full recovery.
He said existing cooperation between Kenya and Somalia in a wide range of areas including peace and security would strength the bonds of friendship between the two countries.
President Mohamed's special envoy, Abdisalam Omer, who is also the new foreign minister of Somalia, expressed appreciation for the efforts Kenya has continued to offer towards stabilization of Somalia.
Despite successful election, President Farmajo faces a formidable set of challenges in meeting the expectations of the Somali people who will expect the new federal government to respond to the country's worsening drought crisis and avert another famine.