Kenya has called on Somalia to speed up repatriation procedure of some half a million Somali refugees living in the United Nations-designated camps in Kenya.
The Kenyan government argues that stability has returned to Somalia following successful joint operations by the African Union and Somali government forces.
The Somali government says it wants its refugees resettled, but the process must be gradual.
Somali National Security Minister Abdelkarim Hussein Gueld has said that the repatriation of the refugees “must be a gradual process.”
“It should be a process that the host country Somalia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agree upon,” the Somali official has stated.
Gueld says many things need to be considered before the refugees are returned to their home country.
Earlier last week, the UN refugee agency called on the international community to secure the protection of asylum seekers from Somalia.
The UNHCR raised concerns over the rising number of Somalis forced to leave their country as a result of violent clashes between government forces and al-Shabab fighters.
According to the UN refugee agency, about 42,000 people in Somalia sought asylum last year.
Nearly 60,000 Somalis were also displaced in the country’s southern and central regions last year, according to the UN.
Somalia did not have an effective central government from 1991 until August 2012, when a previously agreed upon political transition was instituted.
On September 10, 2012, Somalia’s clan elders appointed 275 members to a new parliament, which subsequently elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud president.