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Fighting terrorism to top agenda of Kerry's Africa trip

01 May 2015, 17:05

Nairobi - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's trip to Kenya on Sunday is expected to bolster ties with the nation and boost efforts to fight global terrorism, embassy said.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi said Kerry's visit will help reinforce the importance of the strong U.S.-Kenyan bilateral relationship.

"Secretary Kerry's visit will focus on our common goals, including accelerating economic growth, strengthening democratic institutions, and improving regional security," the embassy said in the statement received Friday.

During the visit, Kerry, who will also visit Djibouti, will hold meetings with government officials, business leaders, opposition leaders, humanitarian aid organizations and civil society representatives.

"He will discuss a range of issues including security cooperation -- particularly in light of the recent tragic attack at Garissa University College -- refugee assistance, human rights, trade, and biodiversity," the statement said.

Both Kenya and Djibouti have been involved in efforts to fight Somalia's Al-Shabaab militants as the countries have suffered retaliatory attacks in the recent past.

The insurgents on April 2 stormed Garissa University College, and left 148 people dead including 142 students.

In 2014, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for suicide bombings at a Djibouti restaurant that killed a Turkish national and wounded several Westerners.

As the first Secretary of State to visit Djibouti on May 5, which hosts the only permanent U.S. military base on the continent, Kerry will visit U.S. military personnel at Camp Lemonnier, the State Department said.

Washington and Djibouti signed in May last year a long-term lease for Camp Lemonnier, a base being used to launch counter- terrorism missions, including drone attacks in Yemen and the Horn of Africa region.

State Department says a focal point of the visit will be to explore ways to more effectively deal with threats posed by Al- Qaida-linked Al-Shabaab and other militant groups.

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