NAIROBI, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday stressed oil purchase deal which Kenya signed with Iran is old and will not affect the country's diplomatic ties with Western countries.
Odinga said the oil deal which Kenya cancelled on Wednesday after the U.S. warned of unspecified sanctions for the dealing with Tehran is older than the recent sanctions and is not an indication that Nairobi is breaking ranks with the global community.
"No oil was procured because Iran never offered any concessions or discounts. There was no likelihood that any Kenyan company or the government was going to import Iranian oil," Odinga said during a meeting in Nairobi with visiting U.S. Congress.
Kenya's Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike reportedly said on Tuesday that the east African nation will import 4 million tonnes of crude oil from Iranian National Oil Company, which sparked protests from Washington.
"We have terminated all negotiations with Iran on the possibility of importing their oil because the UN has declared a total trade embargo on the country," Nyoike said on Wednesday.
But Odinga said the oil Memorandum of Understanding which was signed with Iran long time ago "has a history," adding it was signed first in 2005 on understandings that Iran never fulfilled. He said the MoU provided that Kenya will import crude oil from Iran at discounted prices.
"Somebody just stumbled onto a fairly old document and presented it as new and a defiance of the international community, " he told visiting Congressmen.
"As a result, no oil has been imported from Iran and none is going to be imported because the conditions were not getting fulfilled," the PM said.
"The MoU has been renewed during State visits but no oil has ever been imported," the PM said.
An oil embargo by the EU took effect this week, bringing to a halt crude import to 27 countries in the region. The U.S. Congress is also expected to expand sanctions against Tehran on account of the country's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Odinga also called on U.S. government to support the east African nation in its war against terrorism by helping restore stability in Somalia.
He said Kenya which launched crossed border incursion into Somalia in mid October 2011 is carrying a huge burden on behalf of the international community and deserves support.
He appealed to Washington to help create conducive environment inside Somalia by providing basic necessities in liberated areas to prevent a continued influx of refugees to Kenya.
"We want U.S. solidarity to help us help the people of Somalia solve their problems," the PM said and called for continued sharing of intelligence that could lead to prevention of terrorism and arrest of perpetrators.
The PM said the country has covered significant ground in ensuring the elections are free, fair and peaceful. He cited reforms in the judiciary, police and land as some of the measures that will ensure peaceful polls.
The American lawmakers, led by Congressman David Dreier, are in the country largely to familiarize themselves with preparations for the coming general election.