In Mali, Gen. Stephen Townsend, the Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), expressed the command’s solidarity with the armed forces and people of the country in their campaign against violent extremism.
According to the U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs press release, the Commander, alongside Ambassador Andrew Young, the command’s Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement travelled to the Malian capital of Bamako on Sept. 23 where the commander met with the U.S. Ambassador to Mali, Dennis Hankins, Malian transition President Assimi Goita, and Malian Minister of Defence Sadio Camara.
The statement stated that “in discussions with transition President Goita, Townsend discussed the shared sacrifices of Malian, U.S. and international forces in seeking to improve security and stability in Mali and the Sahel.”
Townsend was quoted to have reaffirmed that AFRICOM stands in solidarity with the armed forces and people of Mali as they counter violent extremism.
He added that “Malian and international partner forces have shed blood together while fighting against the terrorists that threaten innocent civilians in Mali and the Sahel. We want to continue this long standing partnership.”
The statement also revealed that Townsend, Young, and Goita discussed the need for the transitional government to adhere to its commitment to hold credible, transparent elections and transfer power to a democratically elected government by April 2022.
On his part, Ambassador Young was reported to have said that Mali is at a critical juncture. Young added that “the best way to achieve progress in Mali’s security and prosperity is to transition back to a democratic, civilian-led government that is responsive to the needs of the Malian people.”
During the meeting with Mali’s Minister of Defence Camara, the AFICOM Commander was quoted to have emphasised the significant security and development support the U.S. and partners have provided to Mali over the years, both bilaterally and through international partners such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
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