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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 188-13
March 28, 2013

Readout of Secretary of Defense Hagel's Meeting with African Leaders

            Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout:  

            Secretary Hagel today met with Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde; President Joyce Banda of Malawi; and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.  President Macky Sall of Senegal was delayed in his travels and was represented by Ambassador Cheikh Niang.  Secretary Hagel began the meeting by praising the visiting leaders for their success exemplifying democratization and good governance in Africa.  Specifically, the secretary praised their free and fair elections; peaceful transitions of power; and their professionalized and apolitical militaries.  

            The leaders discussed issues of mutual concern including extremist networks, illicit trafficking, and maritime security.  Secretary Hagel also took the opportunity to listen to these influential African leaders discuss their views on the importance of regional security alliances and solicit their views on how the U.S. can best support these institutions.  The secretary emphasized the U.S. desire to support African-led security solutions.  

            Finally, the secretary praised these four countries for their support and contributions to peacekeeping operations around Africa.  He concluded by reiterating that the Department of Defense is deeply committed to developing strong partnerships in Africa and to addressing the common challenges that impact not only Africa, but Europe and the United States as well.