Commander of U.S. Africa Command makes first visit to Mauritania
The commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), General Carter F. Ham, visited Mauritania July 11 and 12, 2011, to participate in a series of meetings with senior Mauritanian officials and U.S. Embassy personnel.
This was General Ham's first visit to Mauritania since taking command of AFRICOM March 9, 2011. U.S. Africa Command provides military-to-military training to the Mauritanian Armed Forces as requested by the Mauritanian government.
While in Mauritania, General Ham met with President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and representatives from the Ministry of Defense and the Mauritanian Armed Forces. General Ham was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Jo Ellen Powell and her staff at the U.S. Embassy.
The Mauritanian Armed Forces participate in U.S. Africa Command-sponsored training and exercises to build capacity and improve military interoperability to counter violent extremists and consolidate stability in Mauritania and the region. U.S. military partnership with the Mauritanian Armed Forces also emphasizes professional development and the importance of the shared Mauritanian and U.S. commitment to having a military that is apolitical, subordinate to civilian leadership and respectful of human rights.
Visits such as this ensure that military cooperation is well coordinated between senior leaders and provides General Ham an opportunity to hear from Mauritania's leaders to understand their defense and security-related issues.
U.S. Africa Command works with African nations and the international community to promote the idea that establishing professional militaries are an effective approach for building self-sustaining stability and fostering conditions that promote development.
Mauritania is a valued partner in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership and U.S. Africa Command applauds Mauritania's recent military successes in pursuit of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and steps being taken to protect the country from the threat of violent extremism.