US and Kenya sign defence agreement ahead of planned Haiti deployment
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United States and Kenya signed a defence agreement Monday that will see the East African nation get resources and support for security deployments as it is poised to lead a multi-national peacekeeping mission to Haiti to combat gang violence.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale signed the accord at a meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The agreement guides the countries' defense relations for the next five years as the war in East Africa against the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab extremist group intensifies.
Austin thanked Kenya for volunteering to take the leadership of the Haiti multi-national force and reiterated that the US government would work with Congress to secure the $100 million in funding that it pledged on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Austin said the rest of the world ought to follow Kenya's commitment to global security and “step up and provide more personnel, equipment, support, training and funding.”
Kenya has pledged to send 1,000 security officers to Haiti to combat gang violence in a mission that is pending the UN Security Council's formal approval but has received support from the UN and US.
Duale said his country is ready to deploy to Haiti and cited Kenya's “very long history of global peacekeeping” in Kosovo, neighbouring Somalia and Congo.
Human rights activists, meanwhile, have expressed concerns over the deployment, citing a history of human rights abuses during security operations in the country.
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