Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) shakes hands with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 8, 2017. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the international community will rally behind Kenya's efforts to tackle biting drought and regional conflicts. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)
by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the international community will rally behind Kenya's efforts to tackle biting drought and regional conflicts.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Nairobi with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guterres noted that Kenya required external support to help deal with the current drought that has affected an estimated 3 million people.
"I hope the international community will match Kenya's generosity in this time it is facing prolonged drought," he told journalists while reaffirming the UN's commitment to helping Kenya achieve sustainable development, peace and security.
Guterres' first visit to Kenya as the UN Secretary General came against a backdrop of a devastating drought in the northern parts of the country that has fueled inter-tribal hostilities.
President Kenyatta on Feb.10 declared drought a national disaster and appealed to the international community to speed up emergency relief aid. In response, the UN announced it will lend emergency support to communities affected by drought.
Guterres said the United Nations in solidarity with Kenya as the east African nation grapples with climate induced food crises and the spillover of regional conflicts.
"We appreciate the relationship between Kenya and the UN to enable the country achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs)," said the UN boss, adding that Kenya has been a strategic partner in efforts to stabilize regional hotspots like Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
On his part, Kenyatta welcomed UN's support toward a national drought emergency strategy launched early this year to enhance communities' resilience in the face of food and water scarcity.
At the same time, the Kenyan leader said a multilateral approach is key to solving regional conflicts and the attendant refugee crises.