President Bush and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki met at the White House Monday to discuss joint anti-terror efforts. Both countries have been the target of terrorist attacks by the al-Qaida network.
Kenya has been the scene of several deadly terrorist attacks in recent years, including two blamed on al-Qaida - last November's deadly car bombing of an Israeli-run hotel in Mombasa, as well as the 1998 terrorist bomb that destroyed the American embassy in Nairobi.
In welcoming President Kibaki to the White House, President Bush said both countries face the same challenge of fighting terrorism, and he called Kenya a vital ally in the on-going war against it.
"Kenyan security forces have disrupted terror operations, have arrested suspected terrorists," he said. "Earlier this year, I announced a $100 million counter-terrorism initiative to provide East Africa with training, equipment and assistance to strengthen the security of those nations in East Africa. Kenya is a key partner in this initiative, and its government clearly has the will to fight terror."
At least five suspects have been charged in Kenya for involvement in last November's attack at that Mombasa hotel.
The State Department continues to urge Americans to avoid traveling to the East African nation because of the terrorist threat. The travel warning has hurt Kenya, which is heavily reliant on tourism for income.
Even so, at a joint news conference with Mr. Bush, Kenyan President Kibaki says Kenya stands with the United States in the fight against what he calls this global menace.
"Kenya, like the United States, has in the past suffered at the hands of terrorism," he said. "The attacks have strengthened our resolve to intensify and enhance our cooperation with the United States and the international community in the fight against terrorism. I have requested the U.S. government to support Kenya to strengthen its security as an essential element in the fight against terrorism."
The Kenyan president did not say how much money that security request would entail, or what form it would take.
This was the first formal state visit by an African leader during the Bush administration, and follows a visit President Bush made to Africa in July, part of what he calls a growing strategic partnership between both continents.