Top military leaders of 42 African countries, US meet

Four-day summit co-hosted by Ethiopian, US defense establishments to seek enhancing partnerships against security threats

Photo credit: The Nation

The U.S. army on Tuesday at the 8th African Land Forces Summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa pledged its continued support to building capabilities of its partner nations in Africa in a wide range of military functions and sharing of information.

Remarks of Gen. Michael Xavier Garrett, the commander of the U.S. Forces Command, came during this year’s opening of the African Land Forces Summit — a U.S.-Africa partnership established a decade ago.

Garrett said the partnership of U.S.-African forces is “important because we operate in a complex, dynamic world.”

“The security challenges we face are diverse, and African nations contend with some of the most complex challenges in the world — insurgencies, armed conflicts, illicit trafficking, piracy, organized crime, and violent extremist organizations,” he said, adding: “These threats have no boundaries — they cross borders, destabilize regions and require significant cooperation and strong partnerships make our efforts to combat these threats far and more effective.”

While land forces, he said, could play an important role in addressing these challenges, the military should however work in partnerships with civilian leadership to develop solutions that are not only military focused, but solutions that focus on long term objectives, which includes diplomatic, economic and developmental efforts.

The 8th African Land Forces Summit, with the theme “Tomorrow’s Security Demands Leadership Today”, saw a record attendance of top military officers from 42 African countries.

Gen. Adem Mohammed, the Ethiopian defense forces chief of staff, on his part said in today’s world a security threat in one country directly affects the security of neighboring countries.

Adem added that the strategic importance of Africa was growing and the world’s major forces were basing their militaries on the continent.

The four-day summit, co-hosted by the defense establishments of Ethiopia and the U.S., will seek ways of bolstering partnerships towards the goal of rooting out security threats to create a peaceful, prosperous Africa.

The U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) was established in 2008, and the U.S. army’s Africa command (USAFRICOM) has 2,000 army personnel across the continent.

Djibouti, a tiny horn of Africa nation, hosts several military bases including those of the major powers of the U.S. and China.

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