Biden wants to designate Kenya as a key non-NATO ally of the US

Washington — President Biden announced Thursday his intention to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, the first such designation for a sub-Saharan country.

The President made the announcement during the visit of Kenyan President William Ruto state visit to the White Housethe first for an African leader since the George W. Bush administration. The trip also coincides with the 60th anniversary of U.S.-Kenya diplomatic ties.

“I am proud to announce that we are working with Congress to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally,” Biden said during a joint press conference with the Kenyan president. “That is the fulfillment of years of cooperation. Our joint counter-terrorism operations have demoted ISIS and Al-Shabaab across East Africa. Our mutual support for Ukraine has led the world to support the UN Charter. And our joint work in Haiti is helping to level the playing field. way to reduce instability and insecurity.”

Presidents can grant major non-NATO ally designations to countries that have close strategic working relationships with the United States, a senior administration official told reporters on a call. Once the president notifies Congress of the measure, it will take 30 days for the designation to take effect. The designation, under U.S. law, provides foreign partners with benefits in defense, trade and security cooperation.

“This is a powerful symbol of the close relationship our two countries share, and we welcome the increased security cooperation and mutual priorities demonstrated by this action,” Biden and Ruto said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The appointment announcement comes as Kenyan police officers arrive in Haiti as several countries try to quell a wave of gang violence in Haiti's capital. The US also provides intelligence and equipment, as Mr Biden said on Thursday.

“Gangs and criminals have no nationality,” Ruto said during the press conference. “They have no religion. They have no language. Their language is one – to deal with them firmly and decisively, within the limits of the law. And that is why we are building a coalition of countries outside Kenya and the US, many of which are contributing.”

Mr Biden had promised to visit the African continent in 2023 but has yet to plan a trip. On Wednesday, the president said he would visit the continent in February 2025 if re-elected.

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