US Africa Command senior leaders seek to strengthen partnership with African countries

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A US Africa Command delegation arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 27 January following a historic visit to Sudan.

The Congo delegation is led by US Africa Command’s Deputy for Civil-Military Engagement, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Director of Intelligence, Rear Admiral Heidi Berg.

The focus of the visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be to discuss continued cooperation and engagements, security and stability efforts, and working together to further professionalize the DRC military and strengthen ties. Young and Berg will meet with US Ambassador to the DRC, Mike Hammer, and top level DRC government and military officials.

The visit follows US Africa Command’s visit to Sudan on 25 and 26 January. The trip to Sudan provided critical insight into areas of mutual interest with this new partner and identified concerns in the region, Africa Command said.

While in Sudan, discussions focused on common areas of concern including countering terrorism, fielding professional militaries, military intelligence collaboration and cooperation, maritime domain awareness, border and maritime security, and the importance of accountability and transparency.

“The US and Sudan are moving forward after 30 years of not moving together,” said Young. “During this trip focused on supporting Sudan’s historic transition to democracy, we put into motion future engagements to help further their vision for a professional Sudanese military that is accountable to the Sudanese civilian-led government and its citizens.”

There is shared agreement on the importance of understanding extremist movements and migration patterns to enhance stability and security.

“We share a common concern and recognition for the need for partnership when it comes to degrading the ability of terrorists, rebel groups, mercenaries, and extremists to operate unchallenged,” said Berg. “These malign actors impact the security and stability of Sudan, and present risk to US interests and East African security.”

The US delegation and Sudanese leaders discussed ways to enhance insight into violent extremist organizations and malign actors.

“There is shared concern about the threat presented by terrorists and extremists, illegal migration, and trafficking routes,” said Berg. “There is an opportunity to discuss and build a broader intelligence perspective that benefits both our mutual interests and reduces criminal activity. The engagement in Sudan offered an opportunity to grow, develop, and deepen the relationship.”

Berg noted the importance of collaboration and a collective approach to increase effectiveness against terrorists and malign actors.

“Terrorists and traffickers exploit borders to undermine security in the region,” said Berg. “Individually, we can only degrade these malign actors. Together we are much more effective. We need a cooperative, regional approach to defeat terrorism and restore the stability needed for economic prosperity.”

The US Africa Command engagement will lead to more visits, exchanges and exploring foundational training opportunities between the US and Sudan. Keys to success after this initial visit will hinge on ensuring continued touch points and collaboration.