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US defence minister to visit Algeria for first time in 15 years

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Brussels, Belgium on February 13, 2020 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in Brussels, Belgium on February 13, 2020 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper will this week visit a number of countries in the Maghreb, on a tour that aims to confirm Washington’s commitment to the region’s security.

Esper will discuss ways to enhance cooperation to fight extremist organisations. The official will be the first Pentagon chief to visit Algeria in 15 years, according to Sky News.

The US Defence Secretary will begin his first tour in Africa since he took office today in Tunisia, where he will meet President Kais Saied and Minister of National Defence, Ibrahim Bartaji, before delivering a speech at the North Africa American Cemetery in Carthage, where US soldiers who died in North Africa during World War II are buried.

A US military official stated that the aim of Esper’s visit to Tunisia is to strengthen relations with this “major” ally in the region, by discussing the threats that extremist organisations such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda pose to the country, in addition to “regional instability exacerbated by the malign moves made by China and Russia in the African continent.”

READ: Algeria to activate expatriates to boost economy and development

Esper will arrive in Algiers tomorrow where he will hold talks with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who also holds the posts of Commander of the Armed Forces and minister of defence.

Esper will end his tour of the region on Friday during a visit to the Moroccan capital Rabat, where he will discuss ways to “strengthen bilateral cooperation” in the security field.

Categories
AfricaAlgeriaMoroccoNewsTunisia
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