Kenya and SA to boost military co-operation

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Defence relations between Kenya and South Africa are to be strengthened, with at least five areas identified during a visit this week by a South African delegation headed by Acting SA Secretary for Defence (SecDef) Dr Thobekile Gamede.

Kenya Defence Principal Secretary (PS) Patrick Mariru is quoted in a Kenya Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement as saying there is a need to strengthen the existing ties created by “a robust defence co-operation agreement”.

The areas named for closer co-operation are security, the blue economy, military medical and health services, the defence industry as well as promoting training of military personnel by way of trainee, instructor and directing staff exchanges.

Mariru welcomed resolutions made by a joint defence committee (JDC) comprising senior officials from both countries adding the defence cooperation agreement (DCA) should develop “cogent practical ideas and resolutions to rationalise the defence agreement to conform to current security needs of the countries”.

The statement has Gamede saying both countries continue to enjoy longstanding diplomatic relations dating back to 1992.

She emphasised the need for Kenya and South Africa to work together to foster regional peace and security, a critical component for socio-economic development and prosperity of the region. Thobekile further urged both countries to address common challenges and bolster the existing DCA “while remaining frank for the formulation of concrete solutions”.

Senior military officers from both countries were present for the meeting at Kenya’s defence headquarters in Nairobi.