Austin Welcomes Kenya’s President to Pentagon

May 24, 2024: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III highlighted the strong U.S.-Kenya relationship during a meeting with Kenyan President William S. Ruto at the Pentagon today. This meeting follows President Joe Biden’s announcement to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO U.S. ally during Ruto’s state visit to the White House.

Austin praised the strategic defense partnerships between the two nations, stating, “This designation underscores our close relationship and our deep appreciation for your contributions to peace and security in Africa and beyond.”

Ruto expressed gratitude for the strengthened military ties, emphasizing shared values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. He highlighted Kenya’s role in countering al-Shabab and its leadership in the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti, where Kenya has pledged to send 1,000 police with U.S. support.

Austin acknowledged Kenya’s significant contributions to global security and announced a memorandum of understanding to expand the Manda Bay airfield, further solidifying the partnership. Additionally, three Kenyan cadets have been admitted to U.S. military academies, marking a milestone in U.S.-Kenya defense cooperation.

Austin concluded, “Mr. President, thanks again for visiting the Pentagon. I look forward to continuing our close cooperation.”–By Joseph Clark