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Schroeder Praises Kenya's Role as Regional Peacemaker

On the second stop of his four-nation tour, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder praised Kenya for its role as a regional peacemaker. He was, in turn, hailed by Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki for Germany's financial aid.

Speaking to reporters, President Kibaki was quick to thank Chancellor Schroeder for the 50 million euros Germany pledged to Kenya for the next two years, an amount that represents a doubling of development aid to the East African country.

Almost half of the funding is earmarked for water projects, with the rest going for initiatives within the agricultural and health sectors. Three million euros have been allocated for the promotion of good governance.

"At the bilateral level, we reviewed our relations and noted with satisfaction the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that have existed over the last 40 years," he said. "Kenya greatly values the financial [and] technical support extended by Germany over the years."

Chancellor Schroeder said he was impressed with what he called President Kibaki's personal fight against corruption, his efforts to reduce trade barriers, and the transition to a new, democratic government.

But much of Chancellor Schroeder's praise centered on Kenya's efforts to bring about regional security through its hosting of the Sudanese and Somali peace talks, which have been taking place for more than a year. He said Kenya has shown, in his words, great commitment and engagement in trying to bring peace to the region.

He says the peace effort will be linked to the name of President Kibaki; it will be his achievement, the contribution he has made in restoring peace at the national and regional level.

The fight against terrorism was also high on the leaders' agenda. Chancellor Schroeder said he was pleased with Kenya's anti-terrorism measures and pledged to share with Kenya any knowledge Germany has in fighting terrorism.

President Kibaki said he wants to tell German tourists it is safe to come to Kenya. Germans represent the largest group of foreign tourists visiting Kenya.

Chancellor Schroeder made similar comments Monday in Ethiopia, where he told an African Union meeting Germany would support the continent's efforts to build stable and democratic nations.

After Kenya, Chancellor Schroeder heads to South Africa and Ghana, before returning to Germany.