“During our meeting today, I thanked him for hosting US forces at Manda Bay and for his commitment to our shared security. Signing the Framework for Defense Cooperation between our countries today reinforces the importance of our strategic partnership with Kenya,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III said in an address from Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, describing his meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto.
“We intend to work with the United States Congress to provide up to $100 million in support,” Mr Austin said, because “we’re grateful to Kenya for its leadership in tackling security challenges in the region and around the world. I also thanked the Secretary today for Kenya’s willingness to consider leading a Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti.”
Mr Austin held a meeting with Mr Ruto to discuss various key topics. The primary focus was on the strong bilateral defence relationship between the United States and Kenya, with an emphasis on regional security and joint efforts to combat terrorism.
He expressed gratitude for Kenya’s partnership and its role in hosting US forces at Manda Bay. He also commended Kenya for leading the Multinational Security Support mission in Haiti, which was initiated in response to an invitation from Haiti and a request from the UN Secretary-General.
In addition to the meeting with President Ruto, Secretary Austin also met with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Defence Aden Duale. Their discussions centred on mutual plans to advance shared bilateral security priorities and regional concerns, particularly Kenya’s leadership role in countering the extremist group al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Furthermore, the two leaders signed a new roadmap agreement, outlining the framework for US-Kenya defence cooperation for the next five years.
Kenya has responded “to Haiti’s call and for considering to serve as the lead nation for a multinational force in Haiti to assist in addressing insecurity caused by gang violence,” the US Secretary of State said in an August statement applauding the Kenyan government.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in U.S. foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe
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