British troops return from Kenya after diplomatic delays

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Soldiers in AfghanistanImage source, PA

UK troops posted to Kenya are returning home after diplomatic wrangling over British army training in the country was resolved.

The 900 troops were waiting to return home after completing their training because of delays over clearance for the officers who will replace them.

The hold-up was reportedly Nairobi's response to new UK travel warnings for Britons travelling to Kenya.

The Ministry of Defence said UK troops would continue to train in Kenya.

'Successful outcome'

The two countries are in talks over a new Memorandum of Understanding on military co-operation between them. The current memorandum expires in April 2015.

"The delay in receipt of diplomatic clearances from the Kenyan authorities has now been resolved, and further UK training in Kenya will proceed", an MoD spokesman said.

"Troops who have completed training are returning to the UK."

Most of the soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Rifles have already arrived, and they all will have left Kenya by 4 July, the spokesman added.

They had been unable to return home because they would usually fly on the same charter aircraft that would carry the incoming troops.

But because of the delay in clearances, the MoD used commercial services to fly them back to the UK.

Earlier, Kenya's Standard Newspaper reported that five "senior military officers" had been expelled from the UK during the diplomatic row between the countries.

The MoD said some Kenyan Canine Regiment officers had "returned home recently during a break in training" and that their training would resume next week.

The military agreement between the two countries governs the UK's use of the Nanyuki training area, 125 miles north of Nairobi.

The MoD said it was confident of a "successful and rapid outcome" in the negotiations.

Warnings that UK nationals should avoid Kenya because of potential threats the militant Islamist group al-Shabab resulted in 400 UK tourists being evacuated from parts of the Kenyan coast in May.

Tour operators Thomson and First Choice cancelled all flights to Mombasa until October.

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