Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. File photo: AP

London - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces an international trial for crimes against humanity, met Britain's prime minister and foreign minister in London on Tuesday, Downing Street officials said.

Kenyatta, making his first trip outside Africa as leader, had brief talks with Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of an international conference on Somalia to which he had been invited by Britain.

A spokesperson for Cameron said the talks were informal and took place at the conference venue and not at the prime minister's Downing Street residence.

“They discussed Somalia, the importance of improving security in Somalia and the importance of maintaining good relations between Britain and Kenya,” the spokesperson said.

Kenyatta also met British Foreign Secretary William Hague for longer discussions.

The Foreign Office said Hague “acknowledged President Kenyatta's commitment to the judicial process with regards to the International Criminal Court”.

Kenyatta, voted into power in elections on March 4, has promised to co-operate with the ICC. He is set to go on trial in July at the court in The Hague for crimes against humanity relating to post-election violence in 2007-08.

Hague said he had expressed Britain's gratitude for Kenya's “significant contribution” to bringing security to Somalia - 5 000 Kenyan troops are in the African Union force.

He also said it was in the interests of Britain and Kenya to build on the “strong ties” between the two countries.

Britain, like the rest of the European Union and other Western powers, has a policy of only “essential contact” with anyone charged by the ICC.

A British government source said the invitation to Kenyatta to the Somalia conference was an example of essential contact. - Sapa-AFP