Tunisia/US partnership growing

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Tunisia is a US major partner in Africa according to General Stephen Townsend Commander of US Africa Command (Africom).

He said this post a telephone call with the North African country’s defence minister, Imed Hazgui. Among topics discussed were upcoming training and exercise opportunities reaffirming the American-Tunisian partnership.

“Tunisia is an example of how US support to African partners aids long term self-sufficiency, security and development. Our relationship with Tunisia is centred on enhancing the partnership to achieve mutual security goals,” Townsend said.

Tunisia recently staged its second free presidential election following the 2011 revolution, showing continued commitment to democratic ideals. Tunisians continue to prioritise and invest in security complementing US security co-operation investments with national funds according to an Africom statement.

Since 2011, the US invested over $1 billion in the Tunisian military. Mutual efforts enhanced Tunisian border security, military intelligence and air-to- ground operations.

“Many of our African partners are under siege from malign actors and terrorist networks. We remain committed to strengthening critical partnerships and working to deliver solutions to common challenges.”

Townsend and Hazgui discussed improved security in North Africa. With ongoing violence in Libya and the need for broader regional security, Townsend is looking at capabilities and US strengths that further partner and enhance regional security and stability.

“As Russia continues to fan the Libyan conflict, regional security in North Africa is a heightened concern. We’re looking at new ways to address mutual security concerns with Tunisia, including use of our Security Force Assistant Brigade. Tunisia recognises American values, professionalism and commitment.”

The US and Tunisia have a shared history of co-operation on training exercises and professional military education opportunities. A recent example is the month-long training course co-hosted for female intelligence officers in Northwest Africa. In addition a senior US inter-agency delegation attended the inaugural Tunisia International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, another indicator of the expanding relationship between the countries.