Biden names Kenya major non-NATO ally in historic move

US President Joe Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto with grandeur on Thursday, marking the occasion with significant diplomatic gestures including plans to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally.

This move signifies a strategic maneuver by Washington to bolster its influence on the African continent, especially in light of competition from global powers like Moscow and Beijing.

Kenya is poised to become the first sub-Saharan African nation to receive this designation, joining a select group of 18 other countries, including Ukraine.

The designation, while not entailing a formal security pact, enhances military and diplomatic ties between the two nations.

The state visit, characterized by a joint press conference and an opulent White House dinner, underscores the importance of US-Kenya relations amidst shifting geopolitical dynamics in Africa.

With China’s substantial investments and Russia’s utilization of shadowy paramilitary groups altering the regional balance of power, the United States and its allies find themselves in a strategic recalibration.

President Biden, standing alongside President Ruto amidst a colorful honor guard on the White House South Lawn, emphasized the shared democratic values between the two nations.

He praised Kenya’s contributions to combating extremist groups like the Islamic State and Al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia.

President Ruto reciprocated by highlighting Kenya’s democratic achievements and expressed confidence in the partnership with the United States to address global challenges such as climate change, debt distress, and East African security.

In a joint statement, President Biden announced his intention to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally, a move hailed as a symbol of the strong bilateral relationship.

Talks between the leaders also addressed Kenya’s leadership role in an upcoming international police mission to Haiti, emphasizing the importance of stable democracies in addressing global crises.

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