Ethiopia: Obama tour demonstrates US preference for security pacts

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African leaders pledged to boost regional security during talks with US President Barack Obama, who wound up a five-day tour of Africa this week, PANA reported Saturday.

At talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the US President emphasized security and human rights, explaining that trade and economic growth was possible in a secure Africa.

President Obama’s trip to Africa demonstrated the US continued preference for military diplomacy, with most foreign assistance geared towards confronting threats to America’s security as foremost.

At the African Union, President Obama told AU Chairperson, agriculture, energy and trade cooperation would not succeed unless Africa was secure.

President Obama announced that the US would help the AU to launch its Capacity for Immediate Response, a new military plan by the AU, to ensure countries have capacity to confront security threats.

At least 10 African countries agreed in 2014, to make a frontline force to intervene in conflicts immediately while an international peacekeeping mission is being mobilized.

President Obama appeared impressed with the military might of East African countries, which have sent forces across the border to Somalia, to fight the Al Shabaab. He declared that due to the military successes achieved by the East African troops, there was no need for US marines to stop the fighting.

“We do not need to send our own marines to the fighting. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have troops fighting on the ground inside Somalia,” President Obama said while in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia announced that it was preparing to bolster its military might and would contribute more troops to the African Union and the UN peacekeeping initiatives.

“We have agreed to deepen our intelligence cooperation both bilaterally as well as regionally. We have both noted and underscored that this cooperation is essential to curb the menace posed by terrorism,” Hailemariam said.

The Ethiopian Premier regretted the Al Shabaab launched an attack targeting a hotel housing the Kenyan embassy in Mogadishu as President Obama prepared to travel to Addis Ababa.

“We need to work even more in this respect. We have agreed to continue working together for better results in all aspects of our cooperation,” Hailemariam said.

President Obama acknowledged during the talks with the Ethiopians that the security cooperation with Addis Ababa was pushing back violent extremism.

“Ethiopia faces serious threats and its contribution to the African Union mission in Somalia has reduced areas under al-Shabaab control,” President Obama said.

President Obama said while continuous bombings in Mogadishu remind the world that terrorist groups like al-Shabaab offer nothing but death and destruction and have to be stopped.

“We have got more work to do. We have to now keep the pressure on. Ethiopia is a major contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts. It contributes more troops than any other country in Africa. We are working together to improve the ability of Ethiopian peacekeepers to respond rapidly to emerging crises before they spiral into widespread violence,” President Obama said.

During talks with President Obama, President Kenyatta decried Kenya’s lack of adequate capacity to fight terrorism, which continues to threaten the country’s economy.

“This kind of fight is foreign to us. This fight is not familiar to us. It is new. We are improving our capacities to learn and we are partnering with the US in all these. I am certain we will handle the situation in a manner that will not increase marginalization,” Kenyatta said.

President Obama said the US was helping Kenya to confront dangerous Al Shabaab threats, saying that Kenya would receive additional US help to fight terrorism.

“The US has effective counter-terrorism cooperation with Kenya to deal with the Al Shabaab. We have systematically reduced Al Shabaab’s territorial control and weakened its networks. We have degraded their capacity but they can still do damage because they are prepared to die,” President Obama said.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 1Aug2015

01 august 2015 16:15:29

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