Kenya's Kibaki celebrates Sudan deals, urges Somali leaders to return home

Dec 31 (AFP)

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki used his New Year address on Friday to welcome the signing of peace accords aimed at ending Sudan's north-south civil war and asking the nascent Somali administration to return home.

"Today we are celebrating the peace accords the Sudanese have agreed," Kibaki said on a televised end-of-year message to the nation. "We are going to build roads and railway lines to that country."

Khartoum and southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed accords on a permament ceasefire and on details of how the final peace agreement will be implemented in the Kenyan northwestern town of Naivasha.

The signing paved the way for inking a final peace deal on January 9 to end a conflict erupted in 1983 and has claimed 1.5 million people and displaced four million others.

Kibaki also urged the new Somali administration to rapidly relocate to their country from the Kenyan capital, where it is based since Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed was elected and sworn in in October.

"They should return to their home quickly," Kibaki added.

"They must return because we were making a government, not to stay in Nairobi, but to return home and reconstruct that country," he added.

Yusuf and his Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi are based in Nairobi due to insecurity in Somalia, whose government collapsed in 1991 when dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was toppled, plunging the whole nation into anarchy.

Peace talks for Somalia and Sudan were hosted by Kenya in the last two years.