Africom Commander visits Tunisia to discuss security


US Africa Command commander General Stephen Townsend travelled to Tunisia on 9 September to meet with key Tunisian leadership, including Tunisian President Kais Saied and Tunisian Minister of Defense, Ibrahim Bartagi.

US Ambassador to Tunisia Donald Blome also participated in the meetings.

In his discussions with President Saied, Townsend focused on US partnership with Tunisia, as well as shared concerns over regional stability and the desire to degrade violent extremist organizations.

“Tunisia is a critical partner to the United States and a major non-NATO ally. We share mutual security concerns, common threats and a commitment to enhancing regional security and stability,” Townsend said following the meeting.

In meetings with Tunisian Minister of Defense Ibrahim Bartagi, Townsend and Blome discussed the US-Tunisian partnership and efforts to enhance security and stability within Tunisia and the region.

Following his meetings with Tunisian government officials, Townsend participated in a donation ceremony of COVID-19 medical and personal protective equipment.

“We look forward to remaining Tunisia’s security partner of choice. This donation of equipment is symbolic of our sustained commitment and desire to navigate shared challenges together,” said Townsend.

The donations, provided through Defence Threat Reduction Agency and Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriation funds, will go to the Tunis Military Hospital, which is responsible for 25 percent of COVID testing in for the country.

Tunisia is a strategic military partner, and serves as host or major contributor to US Africa Command exercises such as African Lion and Phoenix Express, Africa Command said.

Townsend also met with the US Ambassador to Libya, Ambassador Richard Norland. During the meeting, the two spoke via video conference call with newly-appointed Libyan Minister of Defence Salah Eddine al-Namrush to reiterate US support for continued intra-Libyan dialogue under the UN-led process. Townsend and Norland also conveyed US support for Libya’s counter-terrorism efforts, security sector reform, and calls for the departure of all foreign military and mercenary forces from Libya.