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Kenya, US strengthen security ties

Kenya and the United States of America will work together to bring peace in the region to deepen economic ties, expand bilateral trade, and advance shared economic prosperity for the benefit of all parties.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amb. Raychelle Omamo said that Kenya and the United States (US) are exploring additional mechanisms to expand bilateral trade and investments, through maximization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, and Power Africa, as well as joint infrastructure development through the Build Back Better World initiative.

Speaking on Wednesday in Nairobi as she hosted the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in his official visit to Kenya, Omamo said that Kenya and the US have a unique and enduring engagement and this visit seeks to deepen and to reaffirm that relationship.

“I thank you for choosing Kenya as your first destination as you begin your major visit to Africa as the US Secretary of State. This assures us of the strength of our friendship,” said Omamo.

She highlighted that Blinken held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta which was followed by a ministerial meeting where they discussed various issues including Covid-19 recovery, vaccine donations, multilateral cooperation especially in the context of the United Nations Security Council, regional peace among others.

“We have had discussions about building back better and shaping our relationships to contend with the challenges of the day and affirming the strength in unity,” said Omamo.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Kenya is one of their biggest ally in the region as they work together on counterterrorism, border security, maritime security, and professionalization of security forces.

“Jomo Kenyatta once said that ‘our children will learn about the heroes of the past but our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future’ and that is what Kenya and the US are working on. For decades our governments have worked together on virtually every critical issue that affects our bilateral relations,” said Blinken.

He disclosed that the US has so far donated four million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Kenya adding that through the Global Covid Core they are working to address the vaccine delivery and logistics challenges in Africa and private sector companies have pledged to work pro bono to help countries overcome these last mile obstacles and accelerate the vaccination process.

“We welcome Kenya’s participation as the first country to partner with the Global Covid Core where they will begin with the assessment of any gaps hindering vaccination efforts and critically help build capacity,” said Blinken.

On clean energy, Blinken said that Kenya is a model on renewable energy with 90 per cent of the country’s energy being renewable power.

“Kenya is one of the few countries worldwide that has set a target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and that is commendable leadership,” said Blinken.

On the region’s security matters, the US Secretary of State commended Kenya for being a security partner expressing gratitude for efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta in negotiating for peace in Ethiopia in his recent visit to the country.

“We are working closely with Kenya, the African Union (AU), former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo as well as other partners in trying to bring peace in Ethiopia and press the parties to end hostilities, human right abuses and provide humanitarian access to people in dire need of assistance,” he said.

Blinken at the same time, called on all American citizens in Ethiopia to leave the country immediately using all the available options including commercial aviation which is currently operational.

On Somalia, Blinken thanked Kenya for its strong partnership and contribution to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and for working together to defeat Al-Shabaab.

“We urge all the Somalia national leaders to finish the electoral process as soon as possible and focus again on fighting Al-Shabaab and bringing peace in the region,” said Blinken.

He condemned the armed forces takeover in Sudan and called on the military to release all those detained, adding that they are in talks with representatives from both sides to look into ways of returning to civilian rule.

“Sudan has been on a path towards democracy and stability and returning to that path is the best way to attain prosperity,” said Blinken.

Omamo and Blinken condemned the recent bomb attacks in Uganda insisting that terrorism is still a global threat and thus the need for nations to collaborate in gathering and sharing of intelligence to defeat terrorism.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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