US not looking for permanent military presence in Africa

Last Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 09:48

Washington: The US does not intend to have a permanent military presence in Africa to resolve the continent`s conflicts, but is committed to help its partners confront transnational threats, a top Obama administration official has said.

"Contrary to some claims, the US is not looking to militarize Africa or maintain a permanent military presence," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said at the US Institute for Peace yesterday.

"But we are committed to helping our partners confront transnational threats to our shared security," she said.
"I say this as the person who got the 4 am phone call 16 years ago when al-Qaeda bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania."

Rice made the comments just days before almost all of Africa`s leaders descend on Washington for an unprecedented summit.

She said al-Qaeda controls parts of Mali, militant Islamist group Boko Haram bombs markets and kidnap young girls, and another extremist group al-Shabaab terrorized a mall in Nairobi.

"That is why we are stepping up our efforts to train peacekeepers who are professional and effective forces who can secure the region, and by extension the global community, against terrorist threats, and against threats that derive from conflict," Rice said.

For example, the African Union Mission in Somalia has weakened al-Shabaab and created the conditions for Somalia`s nascent government to operate.

"We are also supporting African Union forces working to root out the Lord`s Resistance Army in Uganda and Central Africa.

"Between 2010 and 2013, our cooperation has brought about a 75 per cent drop in the number of deaths caused by the LRA and a 50 per cent drop in abductions," Rice said.

After President Barack Obama took office, the US has contributed close to USD9 billion to UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, she said adding that since 2005, the US has trained almost a quarter of a million peacekeepers from 25 different African countries.

Rice said people need to feel safe in their homes, confident that they won`t be targeted or victimized by a corrupt systems.

"And that`s why we are also partnering with African courts and legal systems and police departments to strengthen the rule of law and ensure justice is available for all," she said.

First Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 09:48
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