Speaker Muturi seeks to intensify Parliamentary ties with Serbian Counterpart
The Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Justin Muturi and his counterpart in Belgrade, H.E. Mrs. Maja Gojkovic have agreed to intensify ties between their respective legislatures, in a move that will see the commencement of collaboration linking their respective Parliamentary Committees, and exchange of ideas between the Parliamentary staff from the two Assemblies.
Speaking when the two held bilateral talks at the National Assembly House in Belgrade, Speaker Muturi underscored the need for the two countries-who have long held strong bilateral ties, to further entrench their relationship in a quest to advance cooperation in all areas of their common interest. This he noted, will serve to strengthen their traditionally good bilateral relations characterised by mutual understanding between the two nations.
Noting further that the ties between the two countries are historically founded on a personal friendship between the two nations' founding fathers; Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the former President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, Speaker Muturi emphasized that it was now time for the two allies, who are also members of the non-aligned movement, to create more understanding about each other, their people and their cultures, so to promote their people-people relations. He also undertook to implement the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two institutions earlier this year, when Speaker Gojkovic visited Kenya.
" We committed ourselves to the MoU we signed in Nairobi. We should cascade the same to our Parliamentary Committees along the sector areas.", he said.
The two underpinned the place for Parliamentary diplomacy, noting its crucial role in advancing the agenda of countries in modern diplomacy. On this, they submitted that the agenda for the executive arm of government could result to naught if there was no cooperation from the respective legislative arms of government.
On her part, Speaker Gojkovic thanked Speaker Muturi and his delegation for acceding to her invitation for a reciprocal visit, adding that the historic visit was a show of commitment and readiness to strengthen their Parliamentary ties. She observed that her visit to Kenya in February was of historic importance as it was the first of its kind in decades.
She accentuated that the agreement signed between their parliaments follows the wish of the two nations' people to strengthen parliamentary relations by way of institutionalising their cooperation, and expressed optimism that this keystone agreement will contribute to the development of cooperation between the parliamentary working bodies, friendship groups and support services.
" Thanks for investing your personal efforts in the spirit of our MoU to intensify our cooperation. I hope this encourages our governments to heighten these relations", she said.
She in particular spelt out her Parliament's interests for cooperation with Kenya in the areas of sports, culture, development, health, education and environmental conservation, noting the importance of these sectors as catalysts to the achievement of the United Nation's Agenda 2030 with regard to Sustainable Development Goals. She also lauded Kenya for successfully hosting the first ever "Blue-Economy Conference" last year, adding that though Serbia is landlocked, there were lots of lessons drawn from the conference on how to harness the resources of Serbia's many lakes and rivers towards her economic transformation.
Speaker Muturi also took the opportunity to reiterate Kenya's position with regard to Serbia's territorial integrity. He stressed that Kenya does not support the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo-Metohija and strongly supports Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. He reaffirmed Kenya's commitment to adherence to United Nations' resolution 1244 of 1999, adding that Kenya supports a peaceful resolution as provided for in the resolution.
He also outlined Kenya's commitment to integration, sustainable development, multilateralism and climate change mitigation, and sought for Serbia's support as the country endeavours to push this agenda in various international fora. He took this chance to seek Serbia's support on Kenya's bid for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for 2021-2022, noting that Kenya's election to the all important seat would enhance her leading role within the African region, and boost her strengths in conflict resolution, security and development.
He further thanked Serbia for the successful hosting of the Inter Parliamentary Union General Assembly last week which drew participation from over 149 national legislatures. Kenya's delegation to the forum was led by the Speaker of the Senate, Rt. Hon. Kenneth Lusaka.
The talks also saw the two Speakers commit to the implementation of resolutions on climate change mitigation which was adopted by 195 countries at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21). While enumerating Kenya's commitment in the implementation of this resolution, Speaker Muturi noted that the Kenyan Parliament had already enacted the enabling legislation for the resolution's implementation. He took a swipe at some countries whom he noted had shown signs of reneging on this agreement. Speaker Gojkovic who chairs the Environment Committee at the Serbian National Assembly undertook to follow suit.
Later on, Speaker Muturi and his delegation met the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Ivica DAČIČ who expressed Serbia's unequivocal support for Kenya's bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council . Speaker Muturi thanked Serbia for her support and decorated him with a lapel pin with inscriptions "I support Kenya's Bid for UNSC", as a mark of Serbia's endorsement for Kenya's bid.
Their meeting also deliberated on increasing trade between the two countries as well as collaboration towards universal healthcare. Speaker Muturi also expressed Kenya's gratitude to his government for the scholarships extended to Kenyan students annually. The Government of Serbia has since promised to increase these opportunities starting next year.
Speaker Muturi who is a 4-day visit to Serbia is accompanied by MPs, Hon. Richard Tongi, Hon. Lemanken Aramat, Hon. Mishi Mboko, Hon. Peter Kihara and Hon. Eric Muchangi.