NAIROBI – Kenya Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale will on Monday start four-day official visit to the US on invitation by his counterpart, Lloyd Austin III.
Regional security, the implementation of counterterrorism measures outlined in the bilateral frameworks, the impact of climate change, joint training, maritime security, and opportunities for professional military academic institutions will be discussed.
Duale visit comes days after his Foreign Affairs Counterpart and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi held talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on February 2. During these talks, they discussed partnership on peace and security in East Africa and the Haiti deployment.
Duale is also from holding talks with Saudi Deputy Defence Minister, Prince Abdulrahman Al-Muqrin on the sidelines of the Second Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition Defence ministers meeting in Riyath on February 3.
During the visit, Duale will hold talks with Secretary Austin, acting Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador Victoria Nuland, who has been involved in the Sudan peace process, and members of the US National Security Council and Senators.
He will also give a lecture at the National Defence University in Washington DC.
The visit follows one by Secretary Austin to Kenya in September last year, when the two discussed the Kenya-US defense partnership and signed the Framework for Defense Cooperation, which the Defence secretary said will help guide bilateral defense relationship for the next five years.
“Signing the framework for defense cooperation between our two countries today reinforces the importance of our strategic partnership with Kenya, and it will help guide our bilateral defense relationship for the next five years,” Austin said following the meeting.
On his part, Duale welcomed the signing of the framework, which he said emphasizes interoperability and opens avenues for enhanced cooperation on defense technology and innovation. The framework, he said, reaffirms “the strong, enduring partnership between Kenya and the United States.”
“In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, our ability to work seamlessly together is paramount. This cooperation will enable us to respond effectively to the ever-evolving security challenges in our region,” he said.
During the September visit, Austin announced the US was going to support the Kenya-led Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti to the tune of $100 million as well as with logistical assistance.
The mission, however, faces headwinds after the High Court termed it unconstitutional.
Following the ruling, the State Department said its commitment to the Haitian people remains unwavering, and reaffirmed its support of international efforts to deploy the mission.
Washington renewed calls for the international community to urgently provide support for the mission.
“The United States acknowledges the ruling by the Republic of Kenya’s High Court regarding the deployment of Kenyan police in support of the Multinational Security Support mission to Haiti and the Government of Kenya’s stated intent to challenge this ruling. It is urgent that the international community respond to the unprecedented levels of gang violence and destabilizing forces preying upon the Haitian people,” the State Department said.
In April 2023, the U.S.-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C was held and five pillars of cooperation listed.
Of the five pillars was defence cooperation, whereby the two states renewed their commitment to implement instruments signed during the 2022 Bilateral Defense Forum, including: a five-year security cooperation plan to enhance Kenya’s capabilities to counter violent extremist organizations; promote regional security; advance maritime surveillance; and bolster Kenyan military academic institutions.
The US commended Kenya for its role in enhancing stability in Somalia and the DRC, and committed to increase Kenya Defence Forces’ military aviation capabilities.
The two governments also committed to increase Kenya’s capabilities at the Kenyan Military Airfield in Manda Bay to counter Al-Shabaab, support the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and the $5 million Counter Insurgency, Terrorism, and Stability Operations Center.