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European Command Deputy Strengthens Partnerships in East Africa

By Tech. Sgt. Devin L. Fisher, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

STUTTGART, Germany, March 6, 2007 – A week-long visit by the deputy commander of U.S. European Command to five East African nations focused on fostering relationships and improving bilateral military engagements in the region.

Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward returned March 3 from a trip that included meeting with Ethiopian and African Union officials, as well as addressing the Africa Center for Strategic Studies' Senior Leaders Seminar, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He also met with senior leaders in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

U.S. European Command has responsibility for U.S. operations in most areas of Africa.

Ward reinforced the importance of fostering partnerships as he presented the Senior Leaders Seminar attendees with a brief look at the current security environment, followed by a top-down approach to U.S. engagement in Africa. He also provided an overview of the recently announced U.S. Africa Command, designed to focus the Department of Defense, Department of State and other U.S. government institutions in cooperating with African partners to achieve a more stable and secure environment for Africa.

Ward visited key leaders in the four other East African nations to get perspectives on issues affecting bilateral military engagements in the region. The nations "play an active role in maintaining security and stability in the region," Ward said. "We support these nations' contributions to the cause of peace in the region."

Ward met with the presidents, ministers of defense, chiefs of defense and U.S. ambassadors in all four nations.

The general's visit in Uganda included a tour of the Kasenyi Training Site. He also toured Rwanda's Gako Training Academy, where the country’s forces train for peacekeeping missions in Sudan.

In addition, he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial that acknowledges the loss of the Rwandan people during the 1994 genocide.

"We came to pay our respects to all those who died during this tragic time in Rwandan history," Ward said. "Our responsibility is to do our very best to stop cases where humankind does such terrible things to other members of the human race."

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Devin L. Fisher is assigned to U.S. European Command Public Affairs.)

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Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward, USA

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