Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Senegal, where he will hold talks with President Macky Sall focused on strengthening security ties and promoting deeper economic cooperation.
The U.S. officially recognized Senegal as an independent state in 1960, and the two countries have forged a close relationship over the past six decades of diplomatic ties. Senior State Department officials have praised Senegal as a role model for democratic institutions, stability and tolerance in West Africa.
We see Senegal as an anchor of democracy and linchpin of security for West Africa, said Pompeo. The U.S. regards Senegal as a critical ally in U.S. efforts to advance peace and security in West Africa and worldwide.
Washington has obligated more than $106 million in security assistance to support Senegal's security institutions since 2014. The U.S., via the Departments of State and Defense, helps train and equip the Senegalese military and police to counter the evolving threats of regional terrorism and cross-border violence that spills over from the Sahel region.
The Defense Department is conducting a global force review and has indicated there likely will be a reduction, but not a complete withdrawal, of U.S. forces from Africa. Ahead of Pompeo's visit, Sall said a drawdown of American troops from Africa would be a mistake, and it would be misunderstood by African leaders.
The United States is the largest bilateral health donor in Senegal, with approximately $60 million in bilateral health funding in 2019 to support maternal and child health, nutrition, and efforts to combat malaria and HIV/AIDS.
After leaving Senegal late Monday, Pompeo will travel to Luanda, Angola, and then Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He also will visit Saudi Arabia and Oman before returning to Washington after his nine-day trip.
In Luanda, he will meet with President Joao Lourenco and Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto to reaffirm U.S. support for Angola's anti-corruption and democratization efforts.
In Addis Ababa, Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde to discuss joint efforts to promote regional security and to support Ethiopia's political and economic reform agenda. Additionally, he will meet with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and give a speech.
The chief U.S. diplomat began his trip at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, where he met with a number of foreign leaders, including Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani. A senior State Department official told reporters a reduction in violence deal has been reached with the Taliban, although the terror group needs to show it can deliver on throttling back the suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
Source: Voice of America