During a recent meeting at the Pentagon, United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin underscored the significance of the “critical security” alliance shared between the US and Kenya as he convened with his Kenyan counterpart, Aden Bare Duale.
The gathering follows the signing of a five-year defence cooperation framework between the two nations in September, affirming Kenya’s enduring status as a paramount security ally in Africa.
Austin reiterated Kenya’s role in addressing mutual security challenges and advancing stability not only in East Africa but also across the continent. He emphasised Nairobi’s indispensable support for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, which is essential for regional stability, and its unwavering commitment to combating the threat posed by al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab’s history of attacks in Kenya, including the tragic 2013 Westgate shopping mall incident in Nairobi, which claimed the lives of 67 individuals, underscores the urgency of cooperative efforts.
In response, Duale echoed Austin’s sentiments, highlighting the strong foundation of mutual trust, respect, and shared values underpinning the bilateral relationship. He emphasised Kenya’s strategic stability and its pivotal position in fostering peace and security within the volatile region, presenting ample opportunities for collaboration with the US.
The discussion also delved into avenues for enhanced cooperation between the two nations, with Duale reaffirming Kenya’s steadfast support for US-led initiatives aimed at bolstering security in the Red Sea region and backing Ukraine in its efforts against Russian aggression.