Minister Kitt Meets President Kibaki of Kenya to Discuss the Future of WTO Talks
Minister of State Tom Kitt T.D, has held high level discussions with the President and Government of Kenya on the future of the WTO talks. Visiting Kenya as part of a two day EU Troika mission Minister Kitt met with President Kibaki and also held discussions with the Ministries of; Foreign Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Reform, and Planning and National Development. In his discussions with Government representatives Minister Kitt explored the possibility of increasing Irish aid involvement in light of the peaceful and successful transition of power in Kenya last year. While in Kenya, Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Mantica and Minister Kitt jointly announced the latest EU support programme for Kenya amounting to €225 million.
Discussing the future of the WTO talks following the recent Cancún conference Minister Kitt availed of the opportunity to listen to Kenyan views on the way forward following the breakdown of talks in Cancún. The Kenyan representatives made clear their willingness to continue with a multilateral approach to global trade. However they indicated their need for further clarification on trade and investment issues and needed more time to consider the consequences for Kenya of including measures on these issues. Following the talks Minister Kitt stated that any new initiative at WTO level must take into account the genuine concerns of developing countries.
“The Kenyan Government made a very compelling case on the need for more time on these issues” Minister Kitt said following the discussions.
Minister Kitt and the other members of the EU Troika also met during their visit with the two chief negotiators in the ongoing Sudan peace negotiations, Vice President Taha of Sudan and Dr. John Garang of the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army).
The peace negotiations which are being hosted by the Kenyan Government have reached a critical stage in the efforts to end the 20 year conflict in Sudan. Both Minister Kitt and Minister Mantica urged the two sides to press ahead and reach agreement. Minister Kitt also impressed on both parties the need to renew the ceasefire which has been in force since October 2002. The Troika emphasised the EU willingness to provide financial support to Sudan in a post conflict situation. For their part, Vice President Taha and Dr. Garang expressed their commitment to a successful conclusion of the talks and expressed guarded optimism of an early breakthrough.
Note for Editors:
The EU Troika consists of the incumbent EU Presidency country (Italy) and next holder of the EU Presidency (Ireland) and the Secretary General / High Representative of the Council, working together with the European Commission.
In addition to meeting with the Chief negotiators in the Sudan peace talks, the Troika representatives also met with the negotiators in the Somali peace talks which are also being held in Kenya at present.