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UN, Kenya Discuss Security Issues, Refugee Camp Set for Closure

  • Jill Craig

FILE - Somali refugees organize their food rations during a distribution exercise outside a U.N. World Food Program center at the Dadaab refugee settlement in Kenya, October 2013.

FILE - Somali refugees organize their food rations during a distribution exercise outside a U.N. World Food Program center at the Dadaab refugee settlement in Kenya, October 2013.

A U.N. Security Council delegation was in Kenya's capital Friday to discuss security issues in the region, including Kenya’s recent announcement that it will close its Dadaab refugee camp, home to an estimated 330,000 people, most of them Somalis.

Members said they met earlier in the day with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and discussed the camp closure.

“On the importance of Kenya fulfilling its international obligations — and that’s an extremely important message which we passed on to the president of Kenya — he was very clear in committing to abide by those international obligations,” said Matthew Rycroft, Britain's U.N. ambassador.

Matthew Rycroft, left, Britain's U.N. ambassador, and Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, Egypt’s U.N. ambassador and Security Council president, address reporters at U.N. headquarters in Nairobi after meeting with Kenyan leaders, May, 20, 2016.

Matthew Rycroft, left, Britain's U.N. ambassador, and Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, Egypt’s U.N. ambassador and Security Council president, address reporters at U.N. headquarters in Nairobi after meeting with Kenyan leaders, May, 20, 2016.

Rycroft also said that the Security Council was united in empathizing with Kenyan authorities for their security work in the region and stood ready to assist.

Kenya has said it will close Dadaab primarily because of security threats. The country’s Interior Ministry has said that al-Shabab militants have used the Dadaab camp to plan and train for attacks, like the one at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, where 67 people were killed in September 2013.

The Security Council delegation stopped in Nairobi after a visit to Mogadishu, where they met with the Somali president, prime minister and cabinet members, among others.

They reiterated the importance of the Somali elections in August as an important step toward combating terrorism.

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