Kenya Designated as Major Non-NATO Ally by the United States, a Diplomatic Milestone for Ruto

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During William Ruto’s state visit to the United States, President Joe Biden designated Kenya as a “Major Non-NATO Ally” on Thursday. This status, already held by eighteen other countries, provides privileged military and diplomatic ties with the United States. Kenya becomes the first sub-Saharan African country to receive this designation, following Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.

The Kenyan press celebrated the announcement on Friday, May 24, calling it a “historic decision” and a “significant turning point.” The designation reflects Kenya’s growing influence on the international stage and underscores its contributions to regional peace and stability, particularly in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo peace process. Additionally, Kenya is a key partner for the United States in combating the Islamist group al-Shabaab.

President Biden highlighted that this status is the “culmination of years of collaboration” between Nairobi and Washington. Kenyan political analyst Dismas Mokua views this as evidence of President Ruto’s effective diplomacy, marking a significant show of confidence from the United States and potentially attracting new investors.

This week, Washington announced funding for Kenya in sectors such as transportation, anti-corruption efforts, and policing. The new diplomatic status will enable Nairobi to enjoy privileged military relations with the United States, including access to advanced weaponry and military training for its armed forces.

While the two leaders discussed the deployment of a Kenyan force to Haiti, no concrete announcements were made regarding the start of the international mission aimed at restoring stability and security in the Caribbean nation.


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