US arms control ambassador visits Africa

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US Department of State’s Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, is visiting Algeria and Benin to focus “on a range of security, non-proliferation, and arms control issues.”

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, travelled to Algeria last year and discussed regional security and stability with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. Now, in Algiers, Jenkins met “with senior government officials to discuss issues of mutual concern, including efforts to deepen bilateral security cooperation to address shared regional security challenges.” Regional security issues were also under the spotlight during her 4-6 March visit.

“In Cotonou, Benin, March 7-9, Under Secretary Jenkins will meet with senior government and military officials to discuss expanding professionalization and capacity building assistance to Benin’s military and security forces aimed at promoting domestic and regional security and stability,” the US State Department said in a statement. She is expected to be given a briefing on what the US is doing in supporting the safeguarding of, “conventional arms stockpiles as well as showcase the shared commitment of the United States and Benin in expanding the role of women in all aspects of peacebuilding through international Women, Peace and Security efforts.”

The US-Benin bilateral defence relationship includes security cooperation programmes. According to the US Embassy in Cotonou, America, “collaborates in managing these programs with the regional Office of Security Cooperation in Accra, Ghana,” additionally, “in addition to providing support for joint military exercises, US Embassy Cotonou’s Security Cooperation team supports US Department of Defence (DoD) training, development, and aid programmes in Benin such as the State Partnership Program, IMET, ACSS, ACOTA, FMF, Section 1206, GPOI, Africa Partnership Station, the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Programme, and any other security cooperation programs that involve Benin.”

Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based foreign correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on US foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe