NAIROBI, Kenya — President Uhuru Kenyatta and King Abdullah II have said Kenya and Jordan will forge stronger military ties to combat emerging security threats.
The two leaders made the commitment in Nairobi where King Abdullah joined the Kenyan leader to witness joint exercises conducted by elite units from the Kenya Defence Forces and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces. King Abdullah is on his first official visit to Kenya since he became King. The Exercise Swift Eagle, conducted at the Embakasi Garrison in Nairobi simulated threats posed by terrorism and how to destroy them.
Two elite units from KDF – Special Forces and Range Regiment – were joined by the Quick Reaction Force from the Jordanian military in displaying tactics to deal with conventional and asymmetric war threats. President Kenyatta said the joint exercises were aimed at creating and improving interoperability between Kenyan and Jordanian forces.
“I am convinced that now our forces are ready for real problems in either of our countries, or elsewhere, should the need arise to tackle either conventional or asymmetric threats,” said President Kenyatta.
The Kenyan Head of State thanked Jordan for its military cooperation with Kenya that has seen more than 60 Kenya Air Force officers trained by the Jordanian military. Another 38 will have trained by February next year. The trainings are part of a Mutual Defence Cooperation agreement between Kenya and the Jordanian Kingdom.
“I would also like to register our appreciation of the assistance the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has extended to our Defence Forces, enhancing our Air Force and Air Crew capacity through a training program covering diverse skills,” said the President while speaking at the end of the exercise, which has been running for the last eight days.
On his part, King Abdullah said Jordan stands shoulder to shoulder with Kenya in confronting the threats of terrorism. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with you against the threats of today. It is a threat we did not ask for but are willing to fight,” said the King.
He said the aim of the joint military exercise was to achieve greater coordination between Kenyan and Jordanian forces, an aim that has been achieved. “We have started a new chapter in our partnership of friendship. It is a new beginning for Kenya and Jordan,” said King Abdullah.
Kenyan Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omama said partnership was essential for maintaining global peace. The Kenya Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathethe said the set goal of the joint military exercise has been successfully achieved. Later at State House, President Kenyatta and the King held talks focusing on wider bilateral issues including ways to expand trade between Kenya and Jordan.
(Reporting by Richard Mbaya; Editing by Omar Nor & Robyn Hunter)