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Kenya's President Begins State Visit To US - 2003-10-06

President Bush has welcomed Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to the White House for a state visit, saying Kenya is a vital ally in the war on terrorism.

In a welcoming ceremony Monday, Mr. Bush said the United States and Kenya have suffered from terrorism, and he said both nations are working together to defeat terrorism.

In his remarks, Mr. Kibaki said said his nation stands with the United States to fight terrorist attacks -- calling them a "global menace."

Mr. Kibaki also thanked the people of the United States for helping Kenya achieve democratic change. He said Kenya is committed to democratic values and deepening its ties with the United States.

President Kibaki was elected in Kenya's all-party vote last December.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Kibaki are holding talks today -- with the focus on joint anti-terrorism efforts. Washington plans to give 100-million dollars to beef up security in Kenya -- the site of two deadly terrorist attacks blamed on al-Qaida.

During their talks, President Kibaki is expected to ask the United States to lift its travel advisory on Kenya -- a move that has badly hurt the tourism industry in the East African nation.

Mr. Kibaki also wants the United States to encourage the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to resume aid to Kenya.

Three years ago, the two lending institutions halted aid to Kenya due to rampant corruption under former President Daniel arap Moi.

The I-M-F and World Bank have indicated they are open to resuming lending programs in Kenya -- ever since the government enacted tough anti-corruption laws earlier this year.

This evening, President Bush will honor President Kibaki at a state dinner at the White House. This is the first state visit by an African leader during the Bush presidency.