SA/US defence committee meeting was “robust”

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This month’s South Africa/United States (US) defence committee meeting was marked by “robust and candid conversations” according to Pentagon spokesman Major Pete Nguyen.

The major is quoted in a US Department of Defence (DoD) statement released by the US government.

Agenda topics were defence policy in Africa; security co-operation; countering violent extremism; women, peace and security programming and maritime security.  The talks reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to strengthening bilateral defence co-operation between the US DoD, its South African counterpart and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

The 20-strong South African delegation was led by Acting Secretary for Defence (SecDef), Dr Thobekile Gamede. SANDF Chief of Staff (CoS) Lieutenant General Michael Ramantswana was also part of the “senior officials and DoD subject experts” making up the delegation.

The South African/ US defence relationship has its origin in a 1995 defence co-operation agreement. Meetings are held annually, alternately in each country with South Africa due to host the 2024 event.

Minister Thandi Modise’s DoD had not commented on the meeting at the time of publishing.