Hagel Meets With African Leaders at Pentagon
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel welcomed representatives of four African nations to the Pentagon today to discuss areas of mutual concern.
Hagel 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.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Hagel began by praising the visiting leaders for their success exemplifying democratization and good governance in Africa. Specifically, Little said, 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,” Little said. “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, Little said.
Hagel also praised all four African countries for their support and contributions to peacekeeping operations around Africa, Little said.
“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,” he added.