EU and US military support for Côte d’Ivoire

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In the same week two top United States (US) military men were in Côte d’Ivoire to reinforce their partnership with the central African country, the European Union (EU) is to support the country’s armed forces by way of a 15 million Euro “assistance measure”.

US Africa Command (Africom) reports its commander, Marine Corps General Michael Langley, accompanied by US Marine Corps Sergeant Major Michael Woods, the Command’s senior enlisted leader, met military and civilian leadership of the landlocked country. “Shared commitment” to regional stability and security co-operation were agenda items when the pair met President Alasane Ouattara and Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Lassina Doumbia.

The visit, according to Africom, underscored the importance of collaboration between the two countries. Topics discussed were common security challenges, including violent extremism as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The US and Ivoirian militaries co-operate in joint training exercises, international military and education training programmes as well as contributing to US-led global peacekeeping initiatives. One of the initiative’s aims is to develop an inter-operable peacekeeping capacity among African nations.

The multi-million Euro assistance, supplied by the EU European Peace Facility (EPF), will assist in strengthening the operational capabilities of the Ivoirian armed forces to secure areas close to the landlocked country’s borders with Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. Funds will also go to counter non-state armed groups which are destabilising the country and the West Africa region, an EU statement said in part.

This assistance will see the European bloc provide non-lethal equipment to upgrade intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the Air Force of Côte d’Ivoire. Included are communication and data transmission equipment and unmanned aerial systems (UASs). Logistics and security of military units deployed in the country’s north will be boosted by multi-purpose vehicles and personal protective equipment (PPE). Tactical and what the EU terms “on-the-job” training is integral to the assistance package.