Kenya: Ruto's U.S. Visit Grants Kenya Major Non-Nato Ally Status

Kenya has been designated a major non-NATO ally, marking it as the first sub-Saharan nation to receive this status.

US President Joe Biden made the announcement on Thursday in Washington during Kenyan President William Ruto's visit to the United States.

Dr Ruto's state visit is the first by an African leader to Washington in more than 15 years, reflecting Washington's efforts to counter the influence of China and Russia in Africa.

The new status will enable Nairobi to engage in closer security cooperation with Washington and gain access to more sophisticated US weapons.

Kenya has become an important security partner for the US in East Africa and is a member of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group coalition, which coordinates military support for Kyiv against Moscow.

The move to strengthen the US-Kenya alliance comes as Washington faces challenges in other parts of Africa.

President Biden expressed gratitude for Kenya's recent pledge to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti.

"Our joint counterterrorism operations have degraded ISIS and Al-Shabaab across East Africa," Biden said. "Our mutual support for Ukraine has rallied the world to stand behind the UN charter. And our work together on Haiti is helping pave the way to reduce instability and insecurity."

President Ruto noted that Kenya and Africa have a committed friend in President Biden.

Once approved by the US Congress, Kenya will become the 19th country to receive major non-NATO ally status. Qatar was designated with the same status in March this year.

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