LUSAKA, Zambia (NNS) -- U.S. Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus met with Zambian president Edgar Lungu Nov. 4, during a partnership-building visit to the African nation's capital of Lusaka.
Mabus and Lungu discussed potential areas of cooperation between the Zambia Defense Force (ZDF) and the U.S. Navy, as well as Zambia's contributions to the security and stability of the region.
"The establishment of a marine unit of the ZDF presents us with an opportunity to explore additional opportunities for cooperation and partnership development," said Mabus. "This is especially true given the expertise of our Navy in small boat and riverine operations."
Launched July 26, the 48 Marine Unit, a new Zambian marine special- forces unit, was created to improve maritime security in the areas of border control and illegal fishing.
The unit is stationed in the Nchelenge District of Zambia's Luapula Province and is tasked with securing the Luapula River bordering Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lake Mweru Wantipa.
In the past, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel have provided training to similar units in other African nations in an effort to prevent transnational crime and maintain stability in the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility.
Mabus and Lungu also discussed Zambia's hosting of Exercise Southern Accord 15, a joint-training exercise funded by U.S. Africa Command.
"Participation in exercises like Southern Accord are crucial in building capacity and relationships in Africa," said Mabus.
While in Lusaka, Mabus also met with Lt. Gen. Paul Mihova, Chief of the Zambian Army and Richwell Siamunene, Zambia's minister of defense.
Mabus' visit to Lusaka also included a stop at the U.S. embassy where he met with the U.S. ambassador to Zambia, Eric Schultz and members of the embassy's Marine Security Detachment.
Mabus' stop in Zambia is part of a multinational trip to U.S. Southern, Africa, Central and European command areas of responsibility to meet with Sailors, Marines and military and government leaders.