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Uhuru arrives in London for Somalia talks

06 May 2013, 17:55

London - President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in London on Monday to take part in a conference on Somalia.

Kenyatta, making his first trip outside Africa as leader, arrived at London's Heathrow Airport, where, his State House official residence said in a statement, he was welcomed by British officials and staff from the Kenyan high commission (embassy) in London.

He has been invited to take part in Tuesday's international conference on Somalia by the British and Somali governments.

Kenyatta, voted into power in the March 4 elections, is to go on trial in July at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity related to post-election violence in 2007-08.

London, like the rest of the European Union and other Western powers, has a policy of only "essential contact" with anyone charged by the ICC.

A British government source said the invitation to Kenyatta counted as essential contact.

He was accompanied by his wife, the attorney general and other senior government officials for the three-day visit.

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office would not say whether he would hold bilateral talks with Kenyatta.

"The prime minister will have discussions with a number of leaders at the conference. We're not discussing whether there will be a bilateral or not," a Downing Street spokesman told AFP.

He said Kenya was a vital partner on Somalia, hosting more refugees than any other nation and providing nearly 5,000 troops.

"We therefore welcome the decision of the Kenyan government and President Kenyatta to attend this conference," he said.

Around 11 people were killed in Somalia's capital Sunday when a suicide attacker from the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents rammed a car laden with explosives into a convoy carrying officials from Qatar, police said.



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