Kenya to gain major non-NATO ally status as Ruto makes historic visit to US – Firstpost

US President Joe Biden welcomes Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House. Source: AP

As US President Joe Biden welcomes his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto to the White House, the US is expected to extend Kenya’s status as a major non-NATO ally. With the three-day trip, Ruto became the first African leader to make an official state visit to the United States in more than 15 years.

Importantly, Kenya will become the first sub-Saharan nation to receive such a designation. The move will allow the recipient country to obtain more sophisticated weaponry from the United States and engage in closer security cooperation with NATO member states.

Because it is important?

The new status will not only improve relations between the United States and Kenya, but could also give Washington greater influence in East Africa.

Both countries have worked together to combat the terrorist group Al Shabaab, responsible for launching deadly regional attacks for decades. Interestingly, Kenya is also part of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, a coalition of about 50 nations that meet regularly to coordinate how best to arm Kiev against Moscow.

“If any country in Africa that does not yet have the status has a prima facie case to be designated a major non-NATO ally, it is Kenya,” said J. Peter Pham, a former senior African official in the Trump administration.

The Biden administration is focusing on increasing its influence in Africa due to growing concerns about China’s influence on the continent. In addition to this, Russia’s growing ties with Kenya have also become a cause of concern for the United States. Biden said the status as a major non-NATO ally could serve as a consolation and signal of intent.

Ruto is visiting Washington to discuss multiple economic and security issues, particularly the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to curb gang violence in Haiti. While the new status is largely symbolic, it could offer more legitimacy to Kenya’s mission.

With the long-awaited announcement, Kenya will become the 19th country to be named a major non-NATO ally, the most recent addition since Biden awarded the title to Qatar in March 2022. According to the State Department, the designation provides “ certain benefits.” in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation.

While globally Ruto is praised for ensuring Kenya’s role as the region’s diplomatic and business hub remains intact, domestically he has become an advocate for Africa on issues related to climate change and disaster relief. Debt.

With contributions from agencies.

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