NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA (Feb. 2, 2015) – U.S. Army Gen. David Rodriguez arrived here yesterday for the second time in his role as Commander, U.S. Africa Command, for consultations with Mauritanian leaders and his U.S. Embassy colleagues.
During his visit, Gen. Rodriguez expressed his appreciation for the strong, mutually beneficial relationship that the United States and Mauritania share.
“We are so thankful and grateful for the close partnership we share with your country and we look forward to continuing our work together in the future,” Gen. Rodriguez said during a meeting with Brig Gen. Hanana Sidi, Mauritania’s Deputy Chief of Defense and Col. Mohammad Lehretani, Mauritania’s Air Force Chief.
Mauritania enjoys a strong and growing relationship with the United States on many issues of mutual interest, security being chief among them. Gen. Rodriguez and his Mauritanian hosts were quick to point out that their close partnership has helped spread security in a region threatened by criminal and violent extremist networks and by epidemic disease.
To help Mauritania confront and overcome these security challenges, U.S. Africa Command supports multifaceted training initiatives designed to increase the capacity of the Mauritanian defense forces. These initiatives include a robust military exercise program, including annual Flintlock exercises; African Partnership Flight, focusing on bolstering Mauritanian air defense capabilities; and African Partnership Station, which seeks to increase the capability of Mauritania’s maritime forces.
“We have achieved so much in the area of security in the last few years as a result of the strong relations we share with the United States,” said Mauritania’s Chief of Defense, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ould al-Ghazwani.
“Since my last visit, Mauritania and the United States have continued their long-standing partnership to improve the capacity of Mauritania’s military,” Gen. Rodriguez said after a meeting with Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. “Today, we discussed how our partnership should evolve to take into account the significant advances achieved in recent years in Mauritania’s military capability.”
President Aziz, who recently relinquished chairmanship of the African Union, has been in a unique position to help further the security and stability of the entire region.
Ambassador Larry André remarked, “Our consultation with President Abdel Aziz on the dynamics of the regional security challenges produced valuable insights. Mauritanian views on regional security are greatly valued by senior American foreign and defense policy makers.”
Gen. Rodriguez also said, “In a troubled world, Mauritania is sharing its security and stability through the service of its brave soldiers on behalf of fellow Africans in dire need. We have great respect for Mauritania’s contributions to African security.”
Ambassador André praised Mauritania’s past efforts to secure the nation and the region. The Ambassador also noted that, “The visit of Gen. Rodriguez has great importance on the future of our security partnership. This visit will help the U.S. and Mauritania outline future regional security efforts supported by Mauritania, including sending forces to support the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in the Central African Republic, and by hosting the fifth annual African Air Chief Symposium. These are some of the great examples of Mauritania’s leadership in Africa. ”
The U.S. Africa Command commander completed his visit by echoing the sentiments expressed by Mauritania’s military and civilian leadership. “In 2015 and beyond, the partnership between our two countries will continue to flourish as we strive for peace, security and prosperity for both our peoples.”