The security challenges facing the nations of Africa are as daunting as they are familiar. Ranging from piracy to illegal trafficking to irregular militaries to resource pilferage and terrorism, threats to peace and stability in the region abound. As with others in the international community, the United States has a strong national interest in a stable and prosperous Africa, and by working together with our partners in the region we can pursue our shared interests more effectively.
Modeled on similar operations with Benin, Ghana and Senegal, U.S. military personnel recently conducted joint training exercises with the armed forces of Mozambique. The 10-day operation, dubbed SHARED ACCORD, was designed to build the Southern African nation's capacity for conducting peace and stability operations. Hundreds of members of both armed forces took part in various types of military training, including command exercises and live-fire small arms practice. The troops also provided free medical and dental care to 3 communities and helped renovate 2 local schools and several clinics. Above all, training was the goal, and all U.S. military personnel will return to their home bases in Europe and the U.S. by the end of the month.
This isn't the first instance of the U.S. working with the Mozambican military. Training is offered on an on-going basis in the removal of landmines, the remnants of 3 decades of fighting during the struggle for independence and subsequent civil war. Tens of thousands of the still-deadly weapons are buried in the fields and forests of Mozambique, and the U.S. is committed to helping Mozambicans to remove the threat.
Such cooperative efforts will help develop Mozambique's ability to offer additional security for its neighbors, keep itself free from threats to its own security and enhance stability for a more prosperous future.