Kenya eyes security deals with Jordan as King Abdullah II visits
Monday September 26 2016
Jordanian King Abdullah II arrived in Kenya Monday for an official visit, as both countries look to push for security cooperation.
King Abdullah II was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The two leaders proceeded to witness joint military exercises conducted by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces at the Embakasi Garrison near the airport.
Threat of terrorism
King Abdullah II and President Kenyatta were scheduled to hold security talks at State House in Nairobi with the fight against terrorism expected to top the agenda.
“Jordan and Kenya are partners of long standing, and during his time here, President Kenyatta and His Majesty will focus their attention on discussions regarding security and counter-terrorism. They will also witness joint military exercises,” spokesperson for the Presidency Manoah Esipisu said on Sunday..
The Jordanian government has in recent years been taking steps to boost its domestic defence industry part of which includes seeking markets beyond Middle East into Africa.
Last August, the Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe met with King Abdullah’s military adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-staff General Mashal Al Zaben for bilateral talks on military cooperation between Jordan and Kenya.
A deal was subsequently signed providing for the two country’s military cooperation and counterterrorism.
Kenya has battled terrorism in recent years especially along the restive border of northeastern where Al Shabaab militants have executed several attacks.
Increased trade ties are also expected to feature prominently during the trip.
The visit happens on the back of unresolved incidents of mistreatment of Kenyans in the Middle East country.
Last August, the Kenya government banned recruiting and sending of domestic workers to Jordan following a public outcry.
In March this year, however, the State ruled that Kenyans with professional qualifications can once again apply for work in the Middle East after lifting a ban on the exportation of labour to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.
The ban on domestic workers however remains.
The issue elicited a diplomatic spat between Nairobi and Amman.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is expected to begin a make visit on October 11 as the two nations seek for better ties and cooperation, said Mr Esipisu.
Last August, President Kenyatta and President Zuma identified trade and industrialisation as areas that the two countries could cooperate on.
Kenya is expected to also be seeking the indulgence of South Africa on its immigration laws which have had an adverse impact on Kenyans wishing to travel to South Africa as they are faced with stringent visa requirements which deter smooth flow of people and goods.