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Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: US Africa Command Chief In Talks With African Union

The head of the US military's new Africa command (AFRICOM) held talks with African Union (AU) officials Thursday, amid grumblings on the continent over increased US military involvement.

General William Ward met AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare at the pan-African body's headquarters in Addis Ababa.

"I came to present my vision of AFRICOM and to listen and understand the traditions of this old institution," Ward said at a press conference.

"There are threats on the continent that deal with poverty, terrorism, trafficking of drugs or people," he said to justify the Pentagon's decision to create a new military command for Africa.

African countries have hitherto been split between three different commands for the US military, and AFRICOM has yet to find a country on the continent to set up its headquarters.

"No decision taken so far. We take into account the different factors that will impact," said Ward, the US military's only serving African-American four-star general.

Some African countries have made no secret of their hostility to the project which they fear will make the host country a target for anti-US terrorism.

AFRICOM currently operates out of Germany as a sub-unified command under the US European command but will become a fully operational command by October next year.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

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