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EU to build security, health center in Nairobi

20 September 2014, 10:45

Nairobi - The EU said Friday it will provide 65 million U.S. dollars to build a new regional security and health center in Kenya.

EU Ambassador to Kenya, Lodewijk Briet said the center, to be located in Nairobi, will be used in preventing and managing a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack.

"A year after the Westgate tragedy and with current threats like Ebola, and in partnership with Kenya, I am pleased to confirm the go-ahead for this important facility, which will improve security and disaster response across the region," Briet said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

"This demonstrates our support to our close ally, Kenya, on critical security issues that matter to a rapidly developing and globalising country and region," Briet said.

He said the new facility is part of a broader strategy of security cooperation that the EU provides to Kenya and the region, which includes countering violent extremism and reduction of small arms, and an EU naval force that tackles piracy in the Indian Ocean and developing stability in Somalia.

The establishment of the new center comes amid increased terror attacks in Kenya. Briet said the east African nation has proven its role as a regional leader in many areas, adding that security cooperation from Europe remains steadfast.

Read also: Uhuru cleans up Kibera

"A program of training will be provided by experts from the EU in disaster management over the coming two years, and is likely to include live exercises in responding to terrorist attacks," Briet said, adding that EU will contribute advisory and training staff, while the Kenyan government will provide staffing and office space for the center.

Briet also said a review of all Kenyan legislation concerning the storage, transport and security of hazardous CBRN materials is expected to be undertaken by the center. He said EU will shortly be conducting a needs assessment for procurement of specialist equipment for detecting hazardous materials.

"Working in coordination with a number of ministries and agencies, the center will train officials across nine African countries in critical security and safety issues, including legislating on dual-use chemicals, tackling pandemics such as Ebola, and handling terrorist attacks," Briet said.

Countries that will be involved in the center include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

- Xinhua

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