NAIROBI, Kenya - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday praised what he called the "strong relationship" between U.S. and Kenyan forces as he met with troops from the two countries at Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya.
"You are a model of interoperability," Austin said. "You're working side-by-side every day, taking care of each other, supporting each other and you're working on some very important issues of security."
The United States and Kenya signed a five-year defense agreement Monday aimed at strengthening counterterrorism efforts in East Africa and supporting Kenya's efforts to take the lead in a security mission to Haiti.
Austin said the United States is "grateful to Kenya for its leadership in tackling security challenges in the region and around the world" and thanked the country for its willingness to take the lead of a multinational security force to combat gang violence in Haiti.
He said the Biden administration would work with Congress to secure the $100 million in funding that it pledged for the Haiti mission last week on the sidelines of the U.N General Assembly.
"The United States stands ready to support that important mission by providing robust financial and logistical assistance," he said.
Austin urged other nations to follow Kenya's example and provide more personnel, equipment, support, training, and funding for the planned multi-national security mission to Haiti.
Kenya has pledged to send 1,000 security officers to Haiti to counter gang violence that has surged since the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. The security mission, which has yet to be approved by the U.N. Security Council, was requested by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry last October.