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Joe Biden honours Kenya's William Ruto at a glittering White House dinner

President Joe Biden offers a toast during a State Dinner with Kenya's President William Ruto at the White House   -  
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Evan Vucci/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


United States President Joe Biden and his wife Jill honoured visiting Kenyan President William Ruto at a glittering state dinner at the White House on Thursday.

The hundreds of guests were treated to stunning views of Washington, a knockout menu, and a healthy dose of celebrities.

This included actor LeVar Burton of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” fame, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and former President Bill Clinton.

Another ex-president, Barack Obama, popped into the dining pavilion early in the evening but did not stay for the dinner.

During his toast to Ruto, Biden joked that attendees included “many members of the African diaspora, one who just left, Barack."

It was the sixth and largest state dinner thrown by Biden as his administration tries to rebuild ties with African businesses and governments.

"There is a bright light at the White House tonight with our guests. They have been impressive and, and accommodating. And, you know, Jill and I are honoured to have you here,” said Biden.

Ruto is on a three-day state visit to the US that comes as Kenya prepares to deploy troops to Haiti, part of a United Nations-led effort to try quell gang violence there.

In his toast, the Kenyan president said, “we proudly take a firm stance, shoulder to shoulder, for democracy in a world where troubles have shaken the faith of many".

Biden failed to keep a promise to visit Africa last year, but this week told Ruto he intended to visit the continent “in February, after I’m re-elected” — a show of optimism about his prospects in November’s election.

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